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Integrated Service Provision and User Involvement Relating to Telecare With the Elderly, Essay Example

Pages: 9

Words: 2443

Essay

The is a growing need for integrated service provision and integration of older people in health and social care. It is beneficial to find a new way to regularly interact with these patients while considering that many of them find it challenging to leave their homes. Thus, providing integrated service though telecare is a beneficial resolution to this problem. It is important to assess the value of this new methodology because it will allow seniors to get more of the care that they need at a more regular interval. However, there are some negative effects associated with telecare in elderly populations that could be resolved by conducting a thorough investigation of this methodology. In particular, some elderly patients find it challenging to interact with technology, which may prevent the efficacy of this method. In addition, it is important to determine whether sufficient interactions could be provided through this method. It is therefore beneficial to continue investigating the utility of integrated service provision of older people in health care and social care. There are many advantages that can be experienced as a consequence of the implementation of this method that should be explored in greater depth in order to confer benefit to members of the elderly population to optimize their care.

Remote care systems provide many benefits to elderly patients. Many of these individuals have trouble commuting to their care visits, which makes it challenging for them to remain up to date with their care visits (Milligan et al. 2011). Furthermore, one of the major stressors of individuals in this population is the mental feeling that they are a burden on others. As a consequence, this method allows elderly patients to become more independent, allowing them to remain accountable for their own care. Last, it is important to consider that health care providers can check in on their patients more frequently using this method. While telecare cannot completely replace some medical examinations, it will allow health care professionals to check in with their patients to ask them important questions about their symptoms and reactions to certain medications. Furthermore, for the purpose of social care, it is plausible for mental health practitioners and social workers to have their primary exchanges with their patients through these means. Overall, telecare is beneficial to provide for the increased care of the elderly because it reduces the need for these individuals to leave their own homes, while enhancing the ability of health care and social professionals to communicate with them to check in with their physical care and mental health status, in addition to other aspects of their care.

Telemedicine has been shown to be extremely beneficial when elderly individuals have the home care equipment that they need installed in their homes and have been shown how to use it properly (van den Berg et al., 2012). In this instance, telecare is implemented primarily for the purposes of monitoring. A combination of techniques was used for these teleconferencing methods, although the preferred method is video conferencing because it allows the health care practitioner to provide demonstrations to the client, which allows them to clarify understandings regarding the equipment and to track the readings on their medical devices to track firsthand. Thus, it appears that telecare can be optimized to meet the individual needs of the clients that use these services. However, it is apparent that training to be able to use the video messaging and the medical equipment is needed for telecare to be a meaningful practice.

In spite of the individual’s abilities to engage in their own care, it is beneficial to integrate telecare into care for the elderly. These techniques allow individuals to become more independent, which provides advantage independent of their unique abilities (Independent Living n.d.). To an extent, it would be helpful for all elderly individuals to become involved with telecare to some degree. Increasing the health care and social resources that these individuals have access to will allow them to live longer and higher quality lives. For some individuals, based on their ability to navigate computer and medical technology, it may still be necessary for them to make visits to the physician or social worker or to have these individuals visit them. In other instances, however, some patients have complete control over these technological requirements and may be able to reduce their visits to these offices manifold. By not requiring physical visits, these supportive professionals can provide more significant care because both the time of the professional and the patient is optimized through these means.

As mentioned, there are several barriers to integrated service provision in the context of the elderly. Aside from their understanding of computers and medical equipment, it is important to consider the language barrier that is in place for many of these individuals (van den Berg et al., 2012). While many health and social service professionals are multilingual to accommodate the needs of these patients, it is expected that English as a second language speakers or those who have little understanding of the language will have a more challenging time operating computers and medical equipment if the instructions for this technology is not explained in the native language. Thus, there may be disparity present in the telecare system that biases against elderly patients who speak languages other than English. Additional barriers have been shown to include, “cognitive and visual impairment, dementia, mental disorders, having communication barriers, problems with hearing, any severe comorbidity, and any problem with compliance with the intervention” (van den Berg et al., 2012). It therefore becomes the responsibility of medical professionals to assess what barriers to effective telecare might be and to take action to eliminate these issues where possible.

Aside from requiring health care professional to help bypass the barriers related to telecare in elderly patients, it is plausible to implement an alarm system in the homes of individuals that would allow them to alert their care providers when they need help and they are unable to implement their personal interventions (Aceros et al. 2011). Doing so will ensure that when there is a lack of understanding about the intervention method, if there is any severe comorbidity, and if the intervention is not being applied, the individuals enrolled in the telecare system will still be able to benefit from medical help. Furthermore, while many individuals argue that it is challenging for some elderly individuals to participate in the telecare system, it is important to consider that requiring them to take their own action to care for themselves help support the mental and physical health of the patient. According to the authors of “Where is grandma? Home telecare, good aging and the domestication of later life”, “The analysis revealed that telecare arrangements shaped particular forms of good aging by demanding identity, memory, and boundary work to align the user with the system” (Aceros et al. 2011).

It is also important to consider that user involvement significantly contributes to the quality of care that elderly individuals are able to receive. According to research, “integrated structures appear to impact upon the operation of care management, a key approach to providing coordinated care for vulnerable older people” (Challis et al. 2006). It is beneficial for elderly patients to become involved in their care, providing feedback about the telecare system in a manner that will allow medical professionals to have a better understanding about how these systems could be modified in order to better meet the needs of patients (DH 2001). Studies of end-user input have determined that in many instances, technological use in the telecare system could be modified to meet the various needs of patients. In particular, this end-user input can be used to help patients with dementia remain as members in the community and receive the health care services that they need to remain happy and healthy (McAndrew & Taylor 2006). One effective way to track end-user input is to provide patients with journals to allow them to detail their experiences. Thus, even if these individuals have trouble communicating with their health care practitoners to help make them understand where improvements are needed, the journals can be utilized as a tool to help determine what changes should be made to these telecare systems (NHS Modernisation Agency 2004). Overall, this demonstrates that user involvement in the context of the elderly is beneficial because it allows these individuals to provide feedback to their care providers in real time. Because of this information, the telecare system will be able to further modify these practices in a manner that will allow the telecare system to be beneficial for all individuals that require its services (Iliffe et al. 2010).

Overall, it appears that telecare will have a positive impact on health and social care. It is important to consider that this process will help many elderly patients that have a basic understanding of technology and cannot easily move from their homes with a means by which they can access high quality care. Even in cases in which seniors do not have a concise understanding of technology, it is plausible for their health care providers to give them the training that it necessary to both access video conferencing equipment and to access and use the medical intervention equipment that they can use as per the guidance of their health care professionals. In this manner, the health of patients can be supported because they are able to apply their own care interventions and remain more independent, which is a factor that is of primary concern for many elderly individuals. When these patients are unable to provide care for themselves, they are more likely to feel depressed about their health status and fall into a decline. However, the telecare system provides them with more regular health advice that is easier for them to receive. Life for these patients will be higher quality because they will be able to use their free time more for the activities that they enjoy instead of constantly visiting doctors and waiting in waiting rooms. While there are several barriers to effective care through the use of this method, it is important to consider that additional research can be conducted to better refine these practices and make them more effective for the patients that need telecare the most. Continuing to utilize data provided by patients to support quality improvement initiatives will allow the telecare system to become even more effective in the future so that even more patients will be able to benefit from the services that are provided through this mode of communication.

In conclusion, telecare can be seen as a collaboration between patient and health and social care providers. While it is necessary for health care providers to check in with their patients, providing them with advice and tracking their progress, it is necessary for the patients to apply their own interventions. As a consequence, the patients become more directly involved in their own care and are therefore able to provide more meaningful feedback to their health care practitioners. Based on the provided evidence, it is likely that telecare will continue to evolve and provide elderly patients with high quality medical care for decades to come. As long as patients and doctors are able to work together, reasonable medical solutions can be created in a way that helps allow for health maintenance at the end of life, allowing elderly patients to participate in the activities they enjoy and remain independent for a longer period of time. In future studies, it would be beneficial to expand telecare practices to enhance the care of additional patient groups as well.

Bibliography

Aceros, J.C., Pols, J., Domènech, M. (2015) Where is grandma? Home telecare, good aging and the domestication of later life. Technological Forecasting & Social Change. 93. pp. 102- 111.

Challis, D., Stewart, K., Donnelly, M., Weiner, K., Hughes, J. (2006) Care management for older people: Does integration make a difference? Journal of Interprofessional Care. 20 (4). pp. 335-348.

DH. (2001) National Service Framework for Older People. London, Department of Health.

Iliffe, I., Kharicha, K., Harari, D., Swift, C., Goodman, C., Manthorpe, J. (2010) User involvement in the development of a health promotion technology for older people: findings from the SWISH project. Health and Social Care in the Community. 18 (2). pp. 147–159.

Independent Living. (n.d.) Telecare & Community Alarms. [Online]. Available from: http://www.independentliving.co.uk/cp-editorials/telecare-community-alarms/

McAndrew, F., Taylor, R. (2006) How all voices are heard for strategic planning. Journal of Dementia Care. 14 (3). pp. 22-24.

Milligan, C., Roberts, C., Mort, M. (2011) Telecare and older people: Who cares where? Social Science & Medicine. 72. p. 347-354.

NHS Modernisation Agency. (2004) A Guide to Using Discovery Interviews to Improve Care – Learning From Patient and Career Experience. Leicester, NHS Modernisation Agency.

van den Berg, N, Schumann, M., Kraft, K., Hoffmann, W. (2012) Telemedicine and telecare for older patients—A systematic review. Maturitas. 73. p. 94-114.

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