Telehealth has been around since the early 1960s. The initial service was for psychiatric patients. It has grown since then, however, people did not embrace it. Many people were willing to try it but did not use it. However, the Covid 19 pandemic changed how people can access a primary care doctor.
People were forced to stay at home but there was still a need for medical services. This led to a drastic change in the use of telehealth services. There was an initial spike of about 32% in the use of telehealth services during the pandemic. The use of telehealth services dropped to about 17% and stabilized.
Even with the decline in use, the utilization of telehealth services is still 38 times higher than it was, before the pandemic. People’s attitude towards telehealth has also improved. During the pandemic period, the government also adopted policies that made accessing a general practitioner easier.
Before the pandemic, cross-state telemedicine was not allowed. However, to ease the pressure on doctors, doctors were allowed to practice across states. Post Covid 19, there is an ongoing conversation about allowing doctors to practice across states.
Even with the outcome, telehealth will remain a crucial part of our health sector. It is now easier than ever to consult a general practitioner near you. You can also consult different doctors easily over the internet and make comparisons. Telehealth is no longer only for people in remote areas.
With better medicine and dieting, people are living longer. There has been an increase in people aged above 65.
This rise has become a matter of concern too because older adults require more medical attention and care.
There is a need for the elderly to access medical care regularly. A great alternative to visiting your general care physician is using telehealth services. If you or your loved ones have grown older, there are several benefits you will get from telehealth. Let us look at what the benefits telehealth offers senior citizens:
1. Remote Monitoring of Conditions
Chronic conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and hypertension are common among senior citizens. Most of these diseases are manageable, and you can live with them. However, you need to constantly monitor your symptoms and vitals.
As patients age, they may not be as vigilant when monitoring their symptoms. This is where caregivers come in. Caregivers can take advantage of technology to monitor their loved ones remotely.
Similarly, doctors can use technology to monitor these patients’ recovery and response to the medicine. Telehealth makes accessing the elderly easier allowing for quick responses to their needs. A dramatic change or anomaly in their vital signs can be noted and acted upon.
With remote monitoring, you can easily notice the early signs of disease and act on it. In the long run, this will reduce the chances of hospitalization or an emergency room visit.
2. Reduced Exposure to Germs
As you grow older, your immunity declines, and you cannot fight off diseases like you used to. There are illnesses that also permanently damage your immune system. For senior citizens, hospitals can be dangerous.
Even with the efforts by hospital staff to ensure high standards of cleanliness, germs remain a threat. You may be exposed to germs on your way to the hospital or while waiting for your doctor. Telehealth helps to reduce this risk of new infections by keeping you at home.
3. Reduces Strain on the Body
Some conditions make movement difficult. For some, moving can be painful. It takes the aged a lot of energy to get from point A to point B. Traveling will therefore leave them feeling very drained and weak.
You can reduce the toll on seniors by scheduling appointments online. They do not need to leave the house for check-ups, which are possible over a video call. You will also save time since less time is spent on standing in queues and traveling.
4. It is Cheaper
When you are old or retired, how you spend your money matters. Senior citizens often rely on family members and their savings to finance their lifestyles. When it comes to medical care, insurance can also help.
The use of telehealth services can significantly reduce the money spent on medical care. First, you cut down on travel costs, thus saving you on fuel. Telehealth services are also cheaper. You spend less money on the same service.
Telehealth services will also save you money through remote monitoring. Diseases and health complications are detected early. A timely visit to your doctor or change in lifestyle is cheaper than an emergency room visit.
5. Eases the Burden on Caregivers
Taking care of an ill person impacts those that take care of them. In some instances, caregivers have to abandon their engagements to take care of their ailing parents. In some cases, you can hire a nurse. However, that does not take away the energy and effort needed to care for the elderly.
Taking care of a patient requires attending appointments, getting medicines, attending to their needs, and other tasks the patient may require. Caregivers with full-time jobs and other responsibilities may experience burnout in some cases. Telehealth helps reduce some of these responsibilities.
Telehealth allows the caregiver to be flexible. There are virtual visits, remote monitoring, and telecare. Telemedicine also makes navigating medical hurdles easier.
With the reduced burden, caregivers can spend less time running around and concentrating on their lives. They will also offer better services to the person in their care. It is easier to care for people when you have fewer things to worry about.
Telehealth is a vital part of the world today. It has made life easier and more people need to adopt it. Telehealth offers multiple benefits, and senior citizens stand to benefit a lot. Some of the benefits of telehealth include saving money and early detection of health issues.
Telehealth also reduces the strain on caregivers. It enables caregivers to continue with their lives while caring for the elderly. Embrace telehealth services while you are caring for seniors.