From caregivers to physicians, and personal care aides to case managers, communication and care coordination is a vital component in today’s healthcare system. Care coordination is identified by the Institute of Medicine as a key strategy that has the potential to improve the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of the American healthcare system. Although the idea of care coordination is simple, it is not always implemented by healthcare providers. In order to properly coordinate care, the care team must understand the patient’s needs and preferences, and communicate them to the right people at the right time. If this goal can be achieved then safe, appropriate, and more effective care can be delivered.
It is important that the care team is involved in every aspect of their care. They must advocate for them, if necessary, when attending appointments or hospital visits. They should be prepared to ask questions, obtaining as much information as possible about their recent diagnosis, upcoming surgery, test results, medication schedule, etc. It is key that these details are then passed along to everyone involved in the delivery of care.
As a home care agency, it is our mission to not only be involved in the care coordination of our patients, but seek to improve it. We have recently connected with a health information exchange program called HealthyConnections, which allows us to receive pertinent patient information from other providers in real time, such as medical records and discharge notes. We also provide Medical Alert Systems to our patients, which notifies our RNs and case managers in real time if a patient has an emergency, what the emergency was, and if hospitalization was required. With this information we are able to promptly investigate the situation, and find ways to prevent the emergency or admission. Below is an illustration of how we demonstrate care coordination within our home care agency:
There are many times in everyone’s adult lives where they are all alone. Whether you are 25 years old hiking in the Adirondacks, 50 years old fishing on the St. Lawrence River, or 80 years old living alone at home. The need for safety does not discriminate, and as we all know life is not always predictable. Anytime you are alone, you must ask yourself ‘What if something happened to me while I was alone? How would I get the help I need?’. These are questions that you may want to ask your family and friends – what is their plan if they find themselves in a difficult situation?
Medical Alert Systems are the answer when you are in a difficult or emergency situation, no matter what your age is. With a press of a button, you will connect with a live operator within seconds. The operator will speak to you through your system, determine what type of help is needed, and promptly send you the help you need – whether that is an ambulance, fire department, a family member, or even a neighbor. Thereafter, your designated friends and family will be notified of the situation in real time.
These systems have advanced significantly over the past couple years. Mobile medical alert systems are a great option for many individuals and has recently grown in popularity. Mobile systems allow you to use the device anywhere in the U.S. through the use of the AT&T and Verizon cellular networks. These devices are also able to find you by the GPS or WiFi technology built into the system. You can also add lifesaving features such as a fall detection, which immediately calls for help if you have fallen and cannot press your pendant. Many are finding mobile medical alert systems to be the best option for them even if they do not travel outside of their home. This may also be suitable for those that walk to their mailbox every day, garden in the summer, or even if they are hard of hearing. Medical alert systems provide the peace of mind you and your family need when they are alone and in a time of need.
Response4HELP is a division of Self-Direct, Inc. and is a provider of medical alert systems. You can find more information by visiting www.response4help.com or call (315) 857-8939.