Providing senior patients with quality care is becoming increasingly difficult. The growing elderly population is putting a strain on healthcare systems, as doctors and nurses no longer have the time or resources to meet demands. Bjørn Moesgaard Lou Kristensen, an employee of Eldercare in Kokkedal, Denmark, knows this predicament all too well.
A year and a half ago, Kristensen sought out a solution for senior citizens in the Fredensborg area, stating “We just knew that we had to do something”. Replacing home visits with remote contact appeared to be the perfect answer to the problem. Using Luscii’s videocare software, the team in Kokkedal have successfully integrated the project into their daily routine.
Benefiting daily life
Kristensen works with senior citizens suffering from a range of illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. Such patients are typically visited in the morning, allowing caregivers to prepare food for the day ahead. By then giving the patients a videocall around lunchtime, the carers can ensure they have eaten, drank enough fluids and have remembered to take their medication.
One patient in particular, an elderly lady with dementia and psychiatric issues, looks forward to Kristensen’s calls every day. Her physical visits have been reduced to just once a week, during which caregivers are able to clean and administer medication. The rest of the week, she is contacted via a screen three times a day. This allows Kristensen to not only make sure she is taking her tablets, but also enables him to visually check her appearance. He even requests that she walks around the dining table a couple of times while they chat, to show she is physically active. Something which he simply wouldn’t have the time for during a home visit.
And that quality of contact has been the driving force throughout the project. Kristensen explains, “I have been in this line of work now for 22 years, and I know what it takes to visit a patient. But the difference here is the eye contact. During a videocall, you are with that person 100%”.
Persuading some seniors to get on board with the technology required has been tough at times, according to the Eldercare team. Additionally, figuring out the right way of how to proceed has cost the most time and effort. Several organisations in neighbouring towns and cities are looking to Kokkedal for direction, having also adopted video monitoring, in seeking an effective and successful approach to delivering this new type of care. The target is to have set up at least 100 citizens with video calling by the end of this year, with a total of 20 patients in every town or city across the area.
Despite initial difficulties, once fully up and running, the reactions from both caregivers and patients have been very encouraging. Aside from providing more direct contact, remote monitoring also saves precious time for healthcare professionals. Kristensen values this new wave of e-health development, citing “This is the future. It is here to stay”. Having recognised the positive effects such modern advances can have, he hopes to expand his vision even further by ensuring the best quality care for everyone who needs it.