Granite VNA nurse Suzanne Olszak, left, is leading the organization’s new telemonitoring program to keep track of patients’ vital signs. (Courtesy)
Since it launched a new telemonitoring program, the Granite VNA has helped nearly 50 patients with serious health issues send the organization daily updates on their vital signs, allowing providers to offer more immediate guidance or intervene if health concerns arise.
The program is available to patients who are receiving skilled nursing care or physical therapy through home therapy services via the Granite VNA for illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and hypertension.
The organization said using telemonitoring equipment has been shown to increase patient engagement with their health care, improve their medication adherence, and understand symptom trends better.
Nurse Suzanne Olszak manages the program, and in addition to helping patients navigate the technology, she educates them on the importance of monitoring their health by checking their vital signs every day.
“As (patients) become more attuned to their vitals, they learn to correlate these important markers to how they are feeling,” Olszak said in a statement. “This awareness can help patients communicate more effectively with their care team about their condition.”
Patients are given a tablet, pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff, and scale at no cost, the Granite VNA said. Olszak automatically receives the readings when a patient uses the three medical devices. She can follow up with participants if she has concerns or notify their physicians or home team care providers. She also calls patients in the program regularly to talk with them about other healthy habits, including diet and keeping to their medication schedule,
In addition, patients are encouraged to log their vitals on paper, a practice Olszak said she hopes will become a habit so they can continue to monitor their own health.
The Granite VNA aims to keep patients on the program for 60 days unless they are discharged sooner.
Olszak said patients who are receiving nursing care or physical therapy through Granite VNA’s home care program can ask their provider about participating if they are interested.
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