In the United States, adults over the age of 65 have the highest risk for mortality when infected with COVID-19. Many seniors who are already sick have limited financial resources and significant technological barriers, making this particular population the most vulnerable people to severe illness, especially if infected with COVID-19. As the pandemic continues, it has become crucial to keep chronic care seniors at home. 73% of those hospitalized for the virus have a pre-existing condition and COVID-19 kills 13% of patients 80 and older.
Continuing to provide care by monitoring and treating patients’ chronic conditions during this time is critical. Failure to monitor and manage conditions such as diabetes, obesity and congestive heart failure as well as other diseases can result in potentially catastrophic and expensive outcomes. These pre-existing conditions, in turn, further stress our healthcare system. Even during “normal times,” going to a medical office or clinic for seniors is logistically challenging. Approximately 50% of these patients have transportation barriers to get to their doctor, and amid the pandemic, getting seniors to their medical appointments can be life-threatening as the risk for infection heightens.
COVID-19 is changing how doctors, nurses and the medical community can safely treat patients. Remote care, including telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, has swiftly come to the forefront as an effective method of maintaining social distancing protocols while providing necessary care to the “at-risk” senior population. Taking action to help your senior patients navigate a potential or real threat to their health during this unprecedented pandemic is crucial, and remote patient monitoring is an essential element. Choosing the correct remote monitoring device(s) for your patients is very important.
The following list outlines five devices that can assist practitioners in assessing symptoms and pre-existing conditions that are known to cause severe illness with the COVID-19 virus:
- Oxygen Sensor (Pulse Oximeter)
- Blood Glucose Monitor
- Digital Weight Scale
- Blood Pressure Cuff
These five devices can help to bring symptoms of COVID-19 to the practitioner’s attention or diagnose and treat a pre-existing condition known to correlate with severe illness when potentially infected with the virus. The results can be uploaded by the patient to the medical care provider via phone, tablet or computer and reviewed in real-time. This real-time information can potentially get a patient to the hospital sooner rather than later.