Telemedicine has made healthcare more accessible and convenient, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. It offers patients of all ages fast, high-quality healthcare from the comfort of their homes. A wide range of healthcare needs can be addressed with telemedicine including – minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, follow-up appointments, prescription renewals, referrals to specialists, diagnostic testing, mental health support and more. One demographic that particularly stands to benefit from this type of service is seniors.
According to the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System, in 2021 the number of adults aged 65 years and older who were living with chronic conditions was 6.3 million, almost one-fifth of the Canadian population – with projections reaching close to one-fourth of the overall population by 2040. Research has shown that telemedicine is as effective as in-person care, especially when it comes to convenience, chronic disease management, and patient satisfaction of the elderly.
Here are 5 ways virtual medicine can help improve the lives of seniors and their caregivers.
Improved access to care for those with mobility issues
It can be very challenging to get to and from the doctor’s office when you’re dealing with mobility or transportation issues. With telemedicine, patients and their caregivers can consult with their doctor over the phone, making it much easier for patients to get immediate care and attention without having to leave their home. Through regular monitoring and the ability to connect to a doctor quickly, an elderly patient may also be able to prolong their independence at home instead of in a medical facility – ultimately improving the quality of their life.
Reduced exposure to viruses and germs
Waiting for hours in a doctor’s office with other sick patients can be exhausting and can contribute to the spread of Covid-19, the flu, and other viruses. With telemedicine, seniors can be evaluated and treated remotely, eliminating unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office or emergency room (ER) – and avoiding exposure to infectious diseases.
Improved chronic disease management
Canada’s population is aging, and the aging process can bring about many challenges. One of these is the impact of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, which can affect daily living and reduce quality of life. Telemedicine can help support chronic disease management by providing patients and their caregivers with the necessary care and resources to handle their conditions – often reducing hospital readmissions. This includes routine monitoring, easy access to prescription renewals, referrals to specialists, lab work requisitions and follow-up appointments.
Support for caregivers
Providing care to an elderly loved one is quite possibly the most challenging experience a person can have. Virtual medicine can help reduce the stress and burden that caregivers face in a number of ways. Fewer in-person doctor visits means less travel time for both the patient and caregiver. This is especially helpful for those caregivers who are juggling a full-time job and supporting their loved one. Telemedicine can also empower family members and caregivers by providing more opportunities to take a proactive role in the health of their loved one. With greater access to healthcare resources and information, caregivers can feel more in control of their loved one’s health.
Greater access to specialists
With the rise of chronic diseases in Canada, especially among the elderly, comes the increased need to visit with specialty doctors on a regular basis. Given that specialists are not located in every community, this can feel overwhelming for seniors who lack transportation, live in a remote area or have limited mobility. Telemedicine brings the patient and the specialist together quickly and conveniently – removing many of the barriers that can cause physical and mental stress.
How to get started with telemedicine
To connect with an Ontario doctor quickly and conveniently at no cost, visit www.tuliphealth.ca. First, select the “Talk to a Doctor” button and complete the simple contact form. Within 15 minutes you’ll receive a phone call to schedule your doctor’s appointment for a day and time that works best for you. One of Tulip Health’s highly trained doctors will call you at your selected appointment time and help you with your health care needs. It’s easy to use and it’s covered by OHIP.