SOMC Home Care Offers New Technology

Southern Ohio Medical Center is helping to provide more tailored, accurate care for home care patients through the new portable Telehealth monitoring system. Pictured using the equipment is 87-year-old patient George Hussey.

Southern Ohio Medical Center is now offering a new, state-of-the-art monitoring system for home care patients that may prevent emergency visits or prolonged hospitalization.

Called Telehealth, the portable machine allows blood pressure, heart rate, weight, pulse oxygen and other trending information to be quickly transmitted each morning directly from the patient’s phone line to the SOMC Home Health nursing facility.

“Prior to this new technology, a home care nurse would have to travel to a patient’s home once a week to check their vital signs,” Karen Thompson, director of SOMC Home Health Services, said. “Now we can easily monitor these statistics on a daily basis, helping us to provide a more tailored and accurate plan of care for our patients and their families.”

Thompson explained that each system can be programmed and tailored to match specific patient needs, tracking and trending information based on the plan of care as requested by their physician.

“The monitors can ask the patient yes or no questions like, ‘Are you having chest pain?’ or ‘Are you feeling dizzy?’ There are over 150 pre-programmed questions that can be used,” she said. “It’s really helpful because it alerts our medical staff of abnormal findings much earlier, often resulting in an intervention of the patient’s treatment and better quality of care.”

Any home care patient can use the Telehealth system, as long as there are no safety or compliance issues. Typical patients who are candidates include: those who have undergone open-heart surgery; those who suffer from congestive heart failure; those with respiratory problems; or those who are medically unstable.

“The monitor has been great and has saved me many trips to the hospital,” said 87-year-old patient George Hussey. “You don’t need much training to use the program and it’s self-sufficient. I can do it by myself.”

“Anyone can do it, young or old. The monitor tells you step by step what to do,” Brent Conley, recent heart care patient and user of the Telehealth program, said. “It only takes a few minutes and if your vital signs are abnormal, a nurse will call to check on you.”

Conley added that the monitors don’t replace the home care nurse, but do help in providing excellent, timelier service.

“I had never been sick, had surgery or been in the hospital until I had a heart attack and found myself on the operating table,” he said. “When you are sick, you can never have too many people caring for you. This new monitoring system reassures me that someone is watching out for me and it’s a wonderful feeling.”

For more information about the Telehealth monitoring system, please call SOMC Home Health Services at 356-5600.