We already know that Athene TeleHealth helps to prevent acute hospital transfers and re-hospitalizations. Late shift staff members will be joined by our highly trained physicians at their patients’ bed sides thanks to our state-of-the art videoconferencing capabilities. No medical issue will be too complex. Some examples of diagnoses we treat on a regular basis include:
- CHF: This stands for Congestive Heart Failure. It plagues approximately 670,000 Americans each year. CHF remains the leading cause of hospitalization for people over 65. Thus, it remains top concern at elder care facilities.
- Pneumonia: It takes the form of breathing difficulties, coughing and fevers. It is not a cold or the flu but it tends to follow those conditions. The cause is germs breathed into the lungs, weakened by the aforementioned cold or flu. Other symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, rapid breathing and chest pain. If you’re still able to walk around after that, it might be referred to as ‘walking pneumonia’. Pneumonia can follow major threats such as asthma, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. All are frequent diagnoses in elder care, each one a potential warning sign for our physicians to watch out for pneumonia.
- Change in Mental Status: One such warning sign when it comes to pneumonia, almost exclusive to the elderly, is a change in mental status. If an elder in your care is having greater difficulty than usual with cognition, oncoming pneumonia is a possibility. Confusion, or delirium, is an indicator. Of course, while on the topic of mental status, we must mention dementia. Dementia is a form of cognitive impairment most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Other forms include Lewy Body Dementia, vascular dementia and Parkinson’s related dementia. Dementia tends to affect attention, memory, language, logical reasoning, and problem-solving. It has been reported that the likelihood of dementia doubles every five years after the age of 65.
- UTI: As you may have heard, the bladder tends not to fare so well with age. A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is all too common. Aside from plain old age, causes tend to be conditions that attack the bladder’s nerve supply, obstructions blocking the passage of urine and the use of catheters. Considering the likelihood of all three occurring as one gets older, the imminent threat of urinary tract infections is practically a fact of life.
- COPD: If you ask them, most elderly people remember a time when TV ads promoted cigarette smoking as a healthy lifestyle choice. So, unfortunately, elder care facilities know no shortage of ex-smokers. Thus, they also are quite familiar with COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The condition is a toxic mix of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The cause is almost always smoking.
- Sepsis: In a recent news release, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden is quoted as saying “When sepsis occurs, it should be treated as a medical emergency.” Sepsis is an extreme immune reaction to infection. It leads to organ failure, then death. Needless to say, a swift response can make all the difference. If nothing else, telemedicine can be that swift response.
- Falls: Nurses and aides in elder care facilities sometimes feel like an entire shift can be spent ‘spotting’ their patients. No fall is a laughing matter. Quite often, the sturdy senior is just fine. Immediate follow-up with a telemedicine cart simply makes sure that’s the case. In a worst case scenario, falls used to be the number one cause for those acute hospital transfers and re-hospitalizations that telemedicine was invented to prevent.
If you are the administrator of an elder care facility, the list we just shared represents a big chunk of what you actively avoid, professionally speaking. That is the very reason we cannot avoid such a list, also professionally speaking. These are the dangers we guarantee protection from. Athene TeleHealth strives to always be on the front lines, alongside you and your staff.
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