The use of telehealth improves home care for seniors
October 24, 2013 Patricia O’Brien
Nothing can take the place of human touch when it comes to patient care. For those of us in home care, technology does not replace direct patient contact, but rather serves as a powerful ally. I like to say that technology known as telehealth enhances my team’s intelligence.
What is telehealth? Telehealth is defined as a means for exchanging health care information using communication technology. It can be as simple as a conversation between two providers discussing a patient’s status over the phone, or as sophisticated as performing robotic surgery between locations miles apart or even on opposite sides of the globe.
Getting outside and moving is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any age. When exploring all that New England has to offer in the summer, it’s important to take steps to avoid Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is commonly spread through the bite of infected ticks that can be found in places like your backyard or outdoor recreational areas. Whether you have been out walking in tall dune grass at the beach, or the grassy area by the playing field at a grandchild’s soccer game, it’s important to check for ticks.
We all know that vaccines are an important piece of preventive health care for children. But did you know that immunizations are equally important as we get older?
The Centers for Disease Control reports that each year, about 42,000 adults in the U.S. die from illnesses that could have been prevented by vaccines. Chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease can put seniors at greater risk for becoming seriously ill. As a geriatrician with HSL Medical Group, my primary goal is to help seniors avoid health complications that can happen as we get older – and vaccines are one important tool.
On July 9, New England Baptist Hospital and Hebrew SeniorLife issued a joint press release announcing their preferred provider agreement. At a time when hospital mergers, affiliations and acquisitions seem to be taking place throughout Greater Boston at record speeds, why does this agreement matter to seniors and their families? Seniors and those who care for them need to pay attention to all that is happening in health care today. The landscape continues to change. We cannot afford to let our guard down. Services are being cut and seniors need advocates.
It’s one of the most simple, but important things you can do for your body – drink plenty of water. Next to oxygen, water is the most significant nutrient your body needs to function properly. It makes up nearly 70 percent of the human body and plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function, including regulating temperature and carrying nutrients throughout the body.
I often remind my patients of ways to stay hydrated because without proper fluid intake, the body becomes dehydrated. Untreated severe dehydration can lead to seizures, permanent brain damage, and even death. Seniors must take extra precautions because their thirst mechanism is not as sensitive as it once was and they are often not aware that they have become dangerously dehydrated.
Every June, Men’s Health Month is celebrated across the country as a way to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men. I’m thrilled by any opportunity to offer patients more information when it comes to their health, so that they are empowered to make the best decisions possible.
Taking ownership of one’s health care, which is something strongly encouraged at Hebrew SeniorLife, relies greatly on patient education. In honor of Men’s Health Month, I’m highlighting three health issues older men frequently face – and what they can to do prevent them.
With summer upon us, we tend to hear a great deal about healthy eating and getting in tip-top shape. There is no shortage of diets, drinks and pills being marketed, all promising slim waistlines for the summer season. But the truth is – healthy eating isn’t limited to a particular time of year. It’s a lifestyle and one that is incredibly important as we age.
Truth: No studies to date show that your eyesight will get sharper just by eating more carrots. In order for your eyes to function properly they need the nutrient Vitamin A which is found in carrots. Be sure to talk to a doctor before adding a vitamin A supplement to your diet because too much can be harmful to your health.
Many studies indicate that people with untreated hearing loss may be at an increased risk of depression. Further, when these people use hearing aids, they experience significant improvements in quality of life and a decrease in depressive symptoms. A study published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics examined the effects of hearing aids on cognitive function and depressive signs in people 65 and older. Researchers found that after three months of using a hearing aid, all patients showed significant improvement in their psychosocial and cognitive conditions.
While tiny in size, mosquitoes can still manage to be pesky and persistent insects. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk during the warmer months.
Mosquitoes can be responsible for transmitting West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) viruses to humans. We hear a lot about these viruses during the early fall, as that’s when mosquitoes are most likely to carry them. Researchers believe West Nile and EEE are spread when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then bites a person. While it’s rare to contract West Nile or EEE virus, severe cases can be life threatening, and old age is considered a risk factor for both viruses.