Telehealth in Nursing Practice
The last few decades have been marked by tremendous technological advancements providing for ever-increasing possibilities when it comes to transmitting, accessing and storing information. As many others professions, the nursing profession is embracing technology in an effort to make nursing care more efficient, cost effective and flexible. This paper will explore how telehealth is reaching a wide variety of clients as in hospice, virtual wards and remote cardiac monitoring, thereby offering a safe, affordable and convenient alternative to traditional care. Telehealth and hospice
Telehealth presents patients and their families with choices and flexibility when it comes to end-of-life care. Something as simple as having a nurse available 24 hours a day to answer questions over the phone can make it possible for a family member to care for their loved one at home and therefore allow the patient to decide where s/he will spend his/her last weeks, days and hours of their lives. Fraser Health Hospice Pallitative Care, Canadian program, is utilizing this alternative for their patients (Roberts, Taylor, MacCormack, & Barwich, 2007). By using elementary technology Fraser Health is, in collaboration with B. C. NurseLine, making nursing care more accessible to hospice patients. This arrangement saves patients and their families not only the inconvenience but also the physical and emotional toll of otherwise needless and expensive visits to the emergency room. Recognizing the need for access to services after office hours, caregivers for home-based patients are provided with the telephone number to a tele-triage and health information call center, which is open 24 hours a day seven days a week. The caregiver can thus call anytime s/he has any concerns or questions about the care of the patient. The call center’s phone is answered a nurse who after making her assessment over the phone can refer the case to the appropriate specialty nurse...
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