St. Joseph’s launches hospital-to-home telehealth
July 22, 2020
CORNWALL, Ont. – St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre, in Cornwall, has been approved for an innovative pilot program that will support vulnerable seniors for up to 30 days after they are discharged from hospital. Backed by Ontario Health’s Ontario Telemedicine Network, the aim is to improve outcomes and handoffs to community care providers.
“Healthcare is changing rapidly, and this exciting, first-of-its-kind initiative is expected to enhance the patient experience for those returning home,” said Gizanne Lafrance-Allaire (pictured), SJCCC’s executive director.
“Our goal is to be innovative while delivering compassionate care in the spirit of our founders, as effectively, safely and efficiently as possible,” she said.
The initiative will leverage virtual care technology and tools to support vulnerable seniors at no cost, and soon the SJCCC will be offering individuals returning home an easy-to-use app that can be downloaded on a mobile device or tablet.
The app will provide timely reminders about their discharge-plan instructions, and it can also be used to access self-care learning video resources. Also, the use of secure messaging and video calls to connect with the care team at SJCCC is available.
Patients can use Bluetooth-enabled health devices for the care team to monitor blood pressure, weight and pulse, and for patients with their own devices or internet access, SCCCC will provide the technology required and user-friendly one-on-one training.
Lafrance-Allaire said remote monitoring technology is being used elsewhere in the province, but mostly for distant communities or to monitor patients with chronic disease.
“We inquired as to whether any other hospitals were using this technology for seniors and transition from hospital. They were not, but OTN was extremely interested in the idea, (and) they suggested a joint pilot to expand to other hospitals with similar challenges, if we’re successful.”
Lafrance-Allaire said the transition from hospital to home can be challenging for many reasons, “particularly for the frail and senior population that we care for.”
She said many of the SJCCC patients return home with multiple medications, nutritional recommendations, and with follow-up appointments in the community. Their home environments may also require safety modifications, and they often face challenges to their emotional wellness and coping ability.