State-of-the-art technology helps keep elderly and disabled at home
BUFFALO, NY—Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) today learned firsthand about a growing tool used in home care—telemedicine—when he visited a local home care agency today and participated in a virtual home visit. The use of technology to deliver home care is growing, especially as the price of fuel increases and the shortage of nurses continues to be a growing problem in delivering care. The Congressman participated in the demonstration at the WILLCARE facility in Buffalo which serves as headquarters for telehealth delivery to patients in Erie and Chautauqua Counties.
“The demand for home and community-based care combined with home monitoring equipment will surely increase as the need for long-term care grows,” said Higgins. “As the health care debate continues at all levels of government, elected officials must foster access to quality home care services and be proactive in supporting health care technology, leading to healthier citizens and more resources to deliver care.”
Telemedicine allows home care agencies to provide proactive and preventive care by using technology to deliver home care services and health education from afar. Telemedicine can provide a wide array of services, including the monitoring of clinical indicators, such as blood pressure, pulse, blood-oxygen levels and weight, seven days a week. Data is transmitted automatically to the home care agency where nurses review and track the results. This allows nurses to identify quickly and address changes in patient status, often preventing the need for costly trips to emergency rooms and unnecessary or avoidable hospitalization.
Providing cost-efficient and quality health care is a major concern for many New Yorkers, which is why Rep. Higgins took advantage of “Home Care Connect,” a home care visitation program sponsored by the New York State Association of Health Care Providers, Inc. (HCP). Home Care Connect provides State and Federal Legislators the opportunity to observe the benefits of home and community-based care in action.
“The demand for care is rapidly increasing, but having the human resources to provide quality care is a challenge,” said Todd Brason, CEO of WILLCARE, the home care agency that demonstrated the telehealth equipment for Higgins. “Telemedicine technology allows a nurse to monitor many patients and make actual visits when a red flag goes up in the monitoring process. Support from elected officials like Rep. Higgins is essential to preserving and expanding access to home care and telemedicine technology.”
“Telemedicine and home care are efficient and effective uses of valuable human and financial resources and they greatly improve the quality life for seniors wishing to remain in their home and out of an institution,” said Phyllis Wang, HCP President.