Increased numbers using tele-monitoring service

OVER 1,000 people living in the Southern area have benefited from tele-monitoring according to latest figures released by the Southern Trust.

Wednesday, 20th February 2013, 8:00 am

The Trust has been providing tele-monitoring services to people with chronic conditions including, heart failure, respiratory disease, diabetes and stroke, giving them the opportunity to check their vital signs in the comfort of their own home.

Checks can be made on pulse, blood pressure, body weight, temperature and oxygen levels at home on a daily basis and the equipment then sends the

readings either via a telephone line or mobile signal to a clinical triage nursing team and also to the patient’s health care professional.

One patient keen to speak out about the service is 64 year-old Desmond Gregg from Waringstown who has a history of heart disease and was diagnosed with heart failure in 2009.

He has telemonitoring installed into his home and has been benefitting from the addition of this service for the last two years.

Des is monitored by a specialist heart failure nurse and part of his management involves weighing daily with telemonitoring. This complements the heart failure specialist nurse’s role in managing Des’s symptoms at home.

It has also allowed him to be aware when his symptoms change - indicating that his treatment should be adjusted.

Speaking about the benefits, Des said, “I have found telemonitoring very beneficial. I am now well used to weighing every day and it is part of my life.

“It lets me know when things are changing early and I can contact my heart failure nurse; it is very reassuring.”

Anne McNulty, heart failure specialist, said, “Des has not had any hospital admissions since this service was introduced as part of his care. He has also become more self-confident in managing his symptoms.”

She said the service helped patients to better manage their own condition as well as provide information to enable staff to make appropriate decisions about their care.

Angela McVeigh, Director of Older People and Primary Care for the Southern Trust, also commended the increased usage of tele-monitoring by patients.

“Last year 366 people benefited from a period of remote tele-monitoring and they have now become ‘expert patients’ in their own care, managing their condition more effectively by recognising ‘triggers’ to a deterioration in their condition,” said Angela.

“They know how to seek help quickly. They also have an increased understanding of how diet, medication and behaviour can impact on their condition and on their general health and wellbeing.”

In line with ‘Transforming Your Care’, the review of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, she said tele-monitoring supported care at home rather than in a hospital setting, thereby “maximising independence and choice for patients, as well as improving their quality of life.”

For more information contact Christine Breen, Tele-Health Improvement Manager, on 028 3836 6875 or email [email protected]