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Most elderly patients have a tough time with telehealth

4 days ago

Despite the general shift to telemedicine amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, most elderly patients continue to have difficulties with the platform, often requiring assistance from a family member or a paid caregiver, a recent study has found.

Through a cross-sectional survey of 16 primary care physicians, researchers looked at the experiences of 873 elderly patients with a large home-based primary care (HBPC) programme. The 11-item questionnaire assessed the providers’ perception of their patients’ attitudes, abilities, and barriers regarding telemedicine.

According to the physicians, by the end of June 2020, only 35 percent (n=310) of the elderly patients had had at least one first-time telemedicine visit. Of these, 82 percent required the help of a family member, a caregiver, or both, in order to finish the visit.

The remaining 563 patients (65 percent) were deemed tele-naïve. Of these, 27 percent (n=153) would be unable to interact over video due to reasons such as advanced dementia, cognitive impairment, or blindness/deafness, according to the physicians.

Moreover, half of the tele-naïve patients would need assistance to accomplish the video visits, 28 percent (n=78) of whom had no caregiver present to lend such assistance.

In terms of technological and economic barriers to telehealth, such as sufficient internet connectivity or ability to pay for a cellular plan, physicians were mostly unaware of their patients’ statuses.

“Novel approaches such as providing telehealth-ready devices and the deployment of community health workers to assist with device setup will be necessary to assist many homebound patients who cannot independently navigate telehealth,” the researchers said. “Health systems need to systematically collect information on patient telehealth capacity to help reduce barriers to telehealth use.”

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Most Read Articles
Pearl Toh, 4 days ago
Not only does the CGRP* inhibitor galcanezumab show sustained efficacy in migraine patients, long-term treatment does not come with excess cardiovascular (CV) risk, according to studies presented at the AAN 2021 Annual Meeting.
01 Apr 2021
Migraine and headache are common ailments of people living in the modern era. Dr Jon Marshall of The Singapore Headache and Migraine Clinic shares his insights with Pearl Toh on how to manage migraine and headache using non-pharmaceutical strategies, with a focus on the manual medicine approach.
Tristan Manalac, 5 days ago
Visceral fat area is the strongest indicator of mobility disability among obese, community-dwelling, older adults, according to a recent Singapore study.
3 days ago
In a webinar held on 27 March 2021, paediatric endocrinology nurses Karen Blair, Kate Davies, and Siti Zarina Yaakop shared insights and clinical experience based on their frontline roles in caring for patients with central precocious puberty (CPP) and supporting their family members.