These days seniors have more options than ever when it comes to their primary care. With new advancements in technology and mobile test labs popping up everywhere, you no longer need to leave the comfort of your home to test for the flu, undergo a wellness exam, or talk to your clinician about a new prescription.
Why is this important?
If you’re recovering from a recent surgery or illness, traveling back and forth from the hospital to your home can put additional strain on your physical and emotional health. Aside from not feeling your best, by maneuvering your body in and out of vehicles paired with exposing yourself to germs and other airborne illnesses, you could risk becoming more sick or injured.
In addition, if you’re relying on others for transportation, a trip to the doctor becomes even more challenging. In fact, this type of scenario could mean putting your health needs on hold vs. making them a top priority.
Certain alternatives to in-person doctor visits have been around for decades, such as Telecare and Telehealth. But within recent years, these services have expanded and evolved. They now provide a higher quality of virtual support and care to seniors everywhere.
3 Alternative Patient Care Options
Let’s explore a few alternatives to in-person doctor visits, and how they allow seniors better access to quality primary care in the comfort of their homes.
Mobile Lab for Seniors
From testing you for the flu, strep throat, or a UTI (urinary tract infection) to taking blood samples and administering medicine, mobile medical labs bring primary care right to your door.
This option can benefit seniors who need to regularly have their blood work checked after a recent operation or for general health. Rather than making frequent trips to your doctor’s office or nearby hospital, you’ll have a medically trained professional stop by your home to administer the test and drop off your samples to your healthcare team.
Though not available everywhere, medical labs are gaining momentum in different cities across the United States. You may want to check your local hospital to see if they offer this service, or if they recommend a mobile lab company.
Telecare for Seniors
Telecare refers to technology devices that allow patients to live at home while closely monitoring their health or individual condition. Mobile monitoring devices or medical alert systems are two common examples of this type of technology. If a patient is wearing one of these devices, for example, and experiences an emergency, a team is notified and works to get support to the patient from another location.
Though this is not a new technology, as smartphones, smartwatches, and other smart devices continue to evolve and offer more health monitoring capabilities, Telecare may help more seniors detect certain health issues before they become life-threatening.
Back in 2019, for instance, a 79-year-old man reported that his apple watch detected and notified him of irregular heartbeats. The man alerted his doctor right away and then underwent the necessary surgery to fix the issue.
Telehealth for Seniors
Telehealth has been around for decades, but after 2020, it really started gaining attention and being utilized by more health professionals, ranging from the medical field to mental health.
This type of service allows you to connect with your healthcare team virtually, using any smart device. Medications and treatments can be prescribed and consultations are carried out, using a secure, online portal.
It’s important to note that Telehealth is not limited to strictly clinical support. Instead, it offers seniors access to an array of health and wellness services: “It often involves services provided by nurses, pharmacists or social workers…who help with patient health education, social support and medication adherence, and troubleshooting health issues for patients and their caregivers,” (Federal Communications Commission).
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