We all are acutely aware of the risk COVID-19 and similar illnesses pose to residents in senior living, skilled nursing and other long-term care communities. Many operators have turned to telehealth to limit exposure within their communities, not only for residents but also for valued staff members.

In both rural and urban communities, telehealth is poised as a solution to assist with early resident screening, support isolation protocols and deliver specialty care to areas during this outbreak.

Currently in senior living and care facilities, Avera eCARE Senior Care is leveraging existing telehealth capabilities to support the daily care of residents, bringing specialists and primary care providers into the buildings virtually. Doing so allows the buildings to reduce exposure to COVID-19, which can be especially deadly among the elderly and chronically ill. The team of geriatricians, providers, pharmacists, social workers, behavioral health providers and RNs can monitor more residents with complex health statuses and prevent most residents from having to leave the building to access care as well.

We have found that telehealth in a senior living and care setting provides the following benefits:

  • Immediate access to a geriatrician-led team of specialists.
  • Reduced need for clinic, urgent care, hospital and emergency department transfers, which decreases the potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • Treatment in place is possible, which can lead to less exposure risks.

In the midst of this crisis, if you don’t already have a formal policy that details your community’s plan in the event of an infectious outbreak, we recommend that you record one.

The populations of senior living communities tend to be underserved by medical providers, and this is an issue our team has been striving to address via telehealth for several years. The current COVID-19 crisis adds another layer of urgency that points to telehealth as a solution to make medical care more accessible and timely.

To learn more about eCARE Senior Care, contact Dave Darr at (888) 731-2787 or visit AveraeCARE.org/covid-senior