Study Shows Telemedicine Has Promising Role for Senior Living Community Residents with Dementia
Telemedicine and telehealth efforts are gaining traction as a way to help avoid emergency department (ED) transfers and office visits by older adults. Now, a new study in the August issue of JAMDA concludes that telemedicine in senior living communities can effectively decrease ED use by individuals with dementia in this setting.
In High Intensity Telemedicine Reduces Emergency Department Use by Older Adults with Dementia in Senior Living Communities, the authors evaluated a high-intensity telemedicine program that delivers care for acute illness for its effect on ED use rates for individuals with dementia residing in senior living communities. They found that individuals with dementia who had access to a telemedicine interview had a greater decrease in all ED visits over time than those without access to this intervention. At the same time, individuals with dementia who resided in senior living communities with access to telemedicine also had a greater decrease in ED visits that resulted in hospitalization.
The telemedicine services were described as “high intensity” because they involved trained telemedicine facilitator assistance and the capture of greater clinical detail than simple videoconferencing.
The authors concluded, “This study confirms the feasibility of high-intensity telemedicine for acute illness for individuals with dementia residing in senior living communities.” They further noted, “Our findings are significant as we aim to improve the convenience and quality of care and decrease avoidable costs for patients with dementia who reside in senior living communities.”
This study was conducted by researchers at Geriatrics and Extended Care, Canandaigua VA Medical Center, Canandaigua, NY; Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics & Aging, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY; Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, Inc., Indianapolis, IN; Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY; Department of Biostatistics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY; Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY; Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY; and the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI.
JAMDA is the official journal of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. JAMDA publishes peer-reviewed articles including original studies, reviews, clinical experience articles, case reports, and more, on all topics more important to post-acute and long-term care medicine. Visit www.jamda.com for more information.
About the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is the only medical specialty society representing the community of over 50,000 medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners working in the various post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings. Dedicated to defining and improving quality, we advance our mission through timely professional development, evidence-based clinical guidance, and tireless advocacy on behalf of members, patients, families, and staff. Visit www.paltc.org for more information.