During the COVID-19 pandemic, staying home is an important part of keeping seniors healthy and safe. Fortunately, an increasing number of health care providers are now offering a telemedicine option that encompasses many areas of senior care without exposing them to the additional risks and challenges of an office visit.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a strategy that enables health care providers to remotely deliver clinical health services and information to patients via interactive audio and video telecommunications using smartphones, tablets, or home computers.
Senior Health Issues Cannot be Ignored
Seniors with chronic conditions and other health challenges cannot afford to ignore or put off dealing with health problems. Telemedicine provides a secure safety margin, along with continued attention to the physical and emotional challenges seniors face.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of distance from a physician’s office is often beneficial for senior adults, depending on their care needs. Telemedicine, however, also provides elements of ease and convenience, as well as a wide range of services.
Ease and Convenience
For many seniors, traveling to a physician office can be an arduous task — finding transportation, navigating the walk to the office, waiting, and then being driven back home. Through the technology of telemedicine, the senior receives care and attention in the comfort of his or her home. This is particularly beneficial for those who live in rural locations, which may require significant travel time and the corresponding costs. Not only can the senior communicate with their doctor, for example, but they can request medication refills and schedule future appointments.
The telemedicine visit is conducted on a secure network that meets the same privacy standards as you would find in a physician office or hospital. Also, if the senior consents, a friend or relative can participate on the call to assist the senior.
A Wide Range of Services
A large number of health concerns can be addressed via telemedicine:
- Chronic illness management, including diabetes and high blood pressure
- Coughs and colds
- Follow-up visits
- Medication questions, adjustments/refills
- Mental health
- Minor infections
- Sinus problems
- Sleep problems
- Specialist referrals
- Vomiting and diarrhea
Telemedicine is great for seniors with everyday health questions, who need follow-up checks, or to discuss symptoms and issues that are not life-threatening. Also, a telemedicine visit can reveal to the physician if an injury or illness is severe enough to require more intensive in-person care by a health professional, or even a visit to the emergency room.
Providers of telemedicine services include:
- Clinical psychologists
- Speech and occupational therapists
- Licensed social workers
Medicare coverage for telemedicine has recently expanded due to the dangers COVID-19 poses for seniors. Private insurers administer Medicare Advantage plans, so people should check with the insurance provider directly. Consult with any other private carrier as well as the health care provider about coverage.
With access to care getting easier, contact Bethesda today to learn how we’re helping our residents stay on top of their care, even from a distance.