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Health Education Blog

The Benefits of Telehealth for Rural Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

Posted by Staff on March 01, 2023

Telehealth Alz, Dementia  (1)As we age, our health needs become more complex and require more attention. For people with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, this can be especially challenging, as their conditions require regular monitoring and treatment. 

Telehealth, or the use of digital technologies to provide healthcare services remotely, is a valuable tool that can help address these challenges, especially for patients living in rural areas. Rural medicine is often difficult because of either lack of resources or the physical distance that can exist between medical help and the patient. 

That’s why newer technologies that help close the distance are so important to rural medicine. It allows for care to reach further and patients to not fall through the cracks just because of their physical location. Though there are medical advances every day, we’ll specifically explore how telehealth can be used to treat Alzheimer's and dementia patients and the benefits it provides. 

How does telemedicine help patients?  

One of the most significant challenges for rural residents with Alzheimer's and dementia is accessing quality healthcare services. Telehealth has the potential to bridge this gap by enabling patients to receive care from the comfort of their homes.  

Patients can connect with doctors and other healthcare providers via video conferencing or remote monitoring devices. This makes it easier for patients in rural areas to receive regular care and reduces the need for long-distance travel. 

Telehealth applications can be used to help patients remember to take their medications and complete daily tasks. There are even video monitoring features to help caretakers ensure they are taking their medications and are healthy and safe. 

What is remote patient monitoring? 

Patients with Alzheimer's and dementia require frequent monitoring to track the progression of their condition and adjust treatment plans accordingly. Telehealth enables healthcare providers to monitor patients' symptoms remotely, using tools such as wearables or remote monitoring devices.  

Patients with Alzheimer's are likely to wander which exposes them to many potential dangers like falling or getting lost. Activity trackers allow for location tracking, can alert services if they fall, and other basic health metrics. 

This provides real-time data that can help healthcare providers make informed decisions about treatment and medication management. Because of the access to this data and connection to patients, telehealth allows more adults to Age in Place. This means patients get to stay at home with more familiar surroundings where they may be more comfortable and less likely to become aggravated or wander. Many adults prefer to age in place and telehealth allows for that.  

What does care look like using telehealth? 

Telehealth can also help improve care coordination among healthcare providers, which is critical for Alzheimer's and dementia patients who often receive care from multiple providers. Through telehealth, providers can easily share information and coordinate care plans, ensuring that patients receive comprehensive and consistent care. 

Telehealth helps prevent emergencies by creating opportunities to check on patients and monitor their well-being. Without recent technologies healthcare providers would be reliant on phone calls and in-person visits only. Video and health tracker apps are two of the telehealth technologies that help with this.  

It also alleviates some pressure on caretakers by bringing in more resources and reducing the need for travel. A medical appointment with team members can now happen from the caretaker’s home with the patient. Technologies will alert them if their family member needs something so they can trust if there is something wrong, they’ll be notified and not have to be in a place of constant worry. 

Is telemedicine effective in treating patients? 

Telehealth can also improve patient and caregiver satisfaction by reducing the burden of frequent travel to healthcare appointments. Patients and caregivers can receive care from the comfort of their homes, reducing stress and improving quality of life.  

Telehealth allows for a wider range of providers for patients. Medical professionals are available without the need to travel hours or across state lines. This means specialist can be contacted and involved when it may have not been possible before.  

Orchard Hospital’s Telecare Program 

We have a free Telecare Program offered by the Orchard Hospital Auxiliary. This service allows community members to check in on their loved ones 6 days a week by calling them between 9:00am-10:00am. These phone calls can be reminders to take medications, eat breakfast, and turn on their Lifeline devices. They do not need to have any specific diagnosis to be a part of this program. 

We recognize that telehealth is a powerful tool that can help address the unique challenges faced by Alzheimer's and dementia patients, particularly those in rural areas. It provides improved access to care, remote symptom monitoring, enhanced care coordination, and increased patient and caregiver satisfaction. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, telehealth will play an increasingly important role in delivering quality care to patients in need. 

When was the last time you saw a healthcare provider? Reach out to us using the link below to schedule your next appointment!


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Topics: Programs, Services, Senior Citizens

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This blog is the place to find general healthcare information, news and updates, as well as ways Orchard Hospital can help!


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