Posted on November 28, 2017 by Chelsea Burnell, RN BScN
If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be remotely monitoring patients with chronic diseases using smart devices in the comfort of their homes I would never have believed you.
Today, I treat patients who have equipment in their home that allow them to send daily vital signs to their care team. Along with this, they also answer a series of questions on a smart tablet, which alerts a primary registered nurse (RN) who follows/coaches the patient for six months. This smart technology connects patients who would otherwise be lost in so many ways.
I’ve received great feedback from my telehomecare patients and their families. It made me wonder why patients and families love this smart device technology so much.
Here are my thoughts on why patients are embracing telehomecare:
- Knowledge is power; patients are learning in detail about their disease and the steps they can take to better manage it
- Patients gain increased confidence in how to manage their overall health
- Patients do not have to leave their home for a check in with their medical team, get ready, and arrange transportation (especially when they do not feel well!)
- Patients can be confident they are on the correct medications by monitoring their heart rate, blood pressure, weight and oxygen levels
- Patients are connected with tools and other community services they may benefit from
- Patients can better communicate with family doctors and specialists
- Patients experience the comfort of knowing someone is checking in on them
- There is no face-to-face contact; patients are more willing/comfortable to open up and share their real concerns
- Patients have access to someone who really knows their specific health situation/concerns
- Patients are better able to understand their tests, procedures and community services
- It reduces readmission rates as it breaks the cycle of continually using the ER department. Patients have continual access to coaching rather than waiting for treatment
Telehomecare allows patients to learn they are the biggest change agent in their own lives if they choose to be. Patients can see the benefits of their lifestyle changes in their improved vital signs and how they are slowly able to get back to their life. They are no longer in the perpetual cycle of waiting until they are sick enough to call the ambulance for a long hospital stay. They are getting back to living their lives with their chronic disease.
I see and hear the benefits of telehomecare daily. This is by far one of the most rewarding roles I've been in as a nurse. Clinicians at the hospital save the lives of patients and we, the telehomecare staff, have the unique opportunity of teaching our patients how to live that saved life to the fullest using technology! Could you see you or your loved one embracing this new type of healthcare? I sure can.
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Chelsea is a registered nurse and a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor that has a great understanding and compassion of the patient experience. She documented her entire journey on YouTube, in hopes to educated, provide reassurance and inspiration to others. Nursing is her passion.