Elderly care providers face a myriad of issues and challenges, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. But these problems are not insurmountable, and companies in the industry are designing creative solutions.
In this series, we interview industry leaders to highlight these actionable solutions. For this edition, we asked the leaders of Belmont Village, Maplewood Senior Living and Trilogy Health Services:
How are you raising telehealth in your communities?
Patricia Will, CEO, Belmont Village
Belmont Village, based in Houston, operates a portfolio of approximately 30 senior citizen communities.
It’s actually a space we’ve been interested in for a long time, but we’ve never been able to find the right platform. And then when COVID-19 happened, and we realized we weren’t going to be able to sort [certain] emergencies to ERsâ¦ we actually had the experience of having people who had to go to the ER, who were fired. It was very early. We said we have to get that ability inside.
We have the advantage of having real nurses in our buildings all the timeâ¦ We have found a platform with certified emergency physicians specializing in geriatrics. And I decided to do a pilot with them, I determined it was incredibly effective, and we’ve since rolled it out in about half of our communities. We intend to expand to the whole company.
I myself was a user. It’s between Christmas and New Years, my father falls. We don’t know what he’s got. He obviously doesn’t want to go to the hospital, we didn’t want him to go to the hospital. And even without the sophisticated technology that we have today, because we did not yet have any in the community where he lives, these wonderful carts with very high resolution [technology], but they can also do ECGs and all kinds of things. But we used telehealth with laptop technology, and they were able to order mobile tests from him almost instantly, they immediately followed his real doctors, they already had his medical history that we had because he had signed up for that. And he’s never been to the hospitalâ¦ So again, I saw the power of it. The other thing is that my sister, who wasn’t even there, we could film her and so we have the whole family there.
And then we had this experience with other residents, when they had to go to the ER for real, you had these board certified emergency stations calling over there to say, okay, you are about to have Mr. Smith. We did it all [evaluation], here are the results. Now go do a CAT scanner. Rather than leaving him sitting there, patiently waiting for his temperature to be taken. So I’m really excited about it, because now we’re harnessing the power of it for a lot more than emergencies. For neuropsychiatric visits, for wound care, for a lot of things the elderly have to come out of that they don’t really need to be out of. And I think that makes it a lot better for the elderly themselves, and a lot better for their families.
Brian Geyser, Clinical Director, InspÄ«r; Vice President of Clinical Innovation and Population Health, Maplewood Senior Living
Maplewood Senior Living, based in Westport, Connecticut, operates a portfolio of 16 senior residences, including the recently opened InspÄ«r skyscraper in Manhattan.
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While we adopted a telehealth program very early on, the pandemic forced us to rapidly increase our offerings and make them more sophisticated not only to meet the new demand for telehealth services, but also to prepare our communities for a world. more digital in the long run. We have made a significant investment in our telehealth over the past year and continue to improve our offerings as it has proven to be an effective and efficient way to provide quality care and something that we do not plan to go away. anytime soon.
Throughout the pandemic, Maplewood has used Temi tablets and robots to facilitate virtual tours with various types of vendors. In most cases, our nurses coordinate these appointments and are present to ensure a smooth experience for both the resident and the provider. Nurses also communicate information to the provider during the visit and manage any follow-up care that may be required afterwards. Family members can also participate in virtual tours, which can help the provider gather additional valuable information and reduce the number of calls the provider or our nurses have to make before and after the visit.
At InspÄ«r, we go even further in telehealth. Through our relationship with Mount Sinai Geriatrics, our nurses can deploy paramedics to the building for certain urgent medical situations that do not necessarily require a visit to the emergency department. Once with the resident, paramedics virtually connect with a licensed emergency department physician and a medical assessment is performed. With paramedics on site and the doctor patched by video conference, they can perform advanced diagnostics and treatments such as vital signs, ECG, pulse oximetry, blood sugar, IV fluids, Lasix IV, steroids and pain management. The objective is to treat the resident in place and avoid an unnecessary visit to the emergency room or hospitalization. In this case, facilitated telehealth, combined with community paramedical medicine, can provide highly coordinated and resident-centered emergency care.
In our new community, Maplewood in Princeton, we are partnering with PennMedicine Princeton Health to develop a telehealth / virtual tour platform, which will include devices that our nurses will use on facilitated virtual tours to send vital signs and other data. to the provider on the other end of the screen.
Openness to the adoption of new tools and the adoption of innovation through technology at the organizational level have been catalysts for improving our telehealth offerings. Our commitment to providing the highest quality care experience to each of our residents and their individualized needs is what drives us to continue to improve our telehealth capabilities, regardless of their timeliness.
Barbara Revelette, Head Nurse, Trilogy Health Services
Trilogy, based in Louisville, Ky., Operates a portfolio of 120 communities spanning the housing and senior care continuum.
Before the pandemic, telehealth was rarely used outside of rural areas. However, during the last week of March 2020, telehealth visits increased 154% compared to the same period in 2019. At Trilogy, we have experienced this increase firsthand, and we have welcomed it. Telehealth has been a critical part of our response to COVID-19 and has remained an often used tool in our clinical arsenal. To date, we have made over 16,000 telehealth visits.
As every provider knows, when a resident starts showing symptoms of COVID-19, time is running out. Telehealth has allowed us to assess residents with these symptoms and provide prompt treatment as needed. Telehealth also allows us to put residents in touch with a team of geriatric doctors.
24/7 physicians – this team allows our staff to try out interventions when there is a change in condition and treat on site if needed.
One of our main goals as a business is to continue to reduce our recidivism rates. Telehealth allows our residents to stay at home, which can improve their health, avoid unnecessary transfers and reduce the likelihood of readmission to hospital. Virtual Access to Practitioners allows us to coordinate resident care, adjust medications as needed, and examine a resident when a change in condition occurs through remote video surveillance.
Our success in using telehealth is due in large part to our ability to provide exceptional care directly to our residents’ homes. We have invested heavily in technologies such as wound cameras and point-of-care blood and urine tests. These tools provide immediate results for diagnosis
testing, which in turn enables our team to make quick decisions, streamline our workflow and improve the quality of our care. Each of our 120 communities also has at least one national certified wound care nurse, as well as certified WCC support team members.
The cost of each digital wound camera is approximately $ 500, and they are operated by our National Certified Wound Care Nurses. We only use our wound cameras in our skilled nursing areas on our campus. Of course, the photos we take with our wound cameras do not replace the wound measurements or our wound management system inside our EHR, MatrixCare.
Our wound cameras allow us to have a documented visual to accompany the wound assessment. This allows our interdisciplinary team to follow the progress of the wound over time. Since we implemented wound cameras in 2019, statistics for acquired and worsened wounds have improved quarter over quarter.
We have found that clinical excellence can only be achieved when you combine the best tools in the business with the best people in the business. That’s why 73% of our campuses have 4 and 5 star CMS ratings, and 94% of our campuses are 3 star or higher.