Telemedicine helps seniors and caregivers
For seniors and caregivers who manage chronic health conditions or dementia, telemedicine makes life easier. It can reduce the time, cost, and energy needed to see the doctor.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is when people consult with a doctor without being there in person, usually through secure video chat.
It also includes remote patient monitoring. That’s when patients use devices at home to monitor vital signs (like blood glucose or heart ECG). That information is then transmitted to the doctor.
4 ways seniors and caregivers benefit from telemedicine
1. Reduce time and energy needed for in-person appointments
Many seniors need multiple doctors or specialists to manage multiple health conditions. This usually means lots of doctor’s appointments. But going to the doctor so often is difficult for seniors and their caregivers.
Going to the doctor is tough for many reasons, including:
- Living far from the doctor and having to drive for hours.
- Not being able to drive, so it’s really difficult to get there.
- Caregivers with full-time jobs needing to take a lot of time off from work and probably making bosses unhappy.
- For some, it’s nearly impossible to leave the house — for example, due to frailty, advanced illness, or dementia
If their doctors offer telemedicine services, using online consultations saves everyone time, energy, and money. For example, quick check-ins for chronic conditions could safely be done via video chat.
2. Save money from reduced healthcare costs
Telemedicine could even save money! Using remote monitoring devices and online video consultations can lower the cost of ongoing treatment and office visits.
3. Better monitoring for improved health
More frequent check-ins or being able to collect more health data (like blood pressure, heart ECG, or blood glucose) gives doctors more information about how your senior is doing.
This helps them know if the current treatment or recovery is going well or if changes are needed. It also gives you more chances to ask questions and better understand their condition and treatment. All of this improves your older adult’s health, which is good for both of you.
Research also shows that using telemedicine has many positive outcomes. This includes faster recovery, fewer hospital re-admissions, and more people taking medicine as prescribed.
4. Get a doctor’s opinion ASAP
It’s the middle of the night and your senior is throwing up or they have a pretty high fever. Is this a sign of a serious problem that needs immediate medical attention? Or something relatively normal where they just need rest and fluids?
Some providers and health technology companies have 24/7 telemedicine consultations. In situations where you don’t know if you should call 911 to take your senior to the hospital emergency room or if it can safely wait until morning, being able to talk to a doctor immediately is a reassuring and valuable service.
Coming Soon Find out where to get telemedicine services and who pays for it
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff