The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.” According to AARP, 87% of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. Although older adults hope to successfully age in place, they face the realities of living with one or more chronic conditions while living on their own. The National Council of Aging reports that approximately 92% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two.
By utilizing video technology in your post-discharge program, your healthcare organization can help at-risk / at-home patients with chronic conditions can prevent costly readmissions, especially within the first month. Virtual visits also help the older population remain engaged and active in managing their health as much as possible while keeping them at home as much as possible. The ideal solution should be easy, educational, and engaging for your patient/member population:
- Easy: A post-hospital discharge program needs to be user-friendly. If providing patients with an app for their personal devices, the user interface and overall experience should be intuitive and easy to grasp by both patients and their caregivers. The program itself (and the expected role of the patient in accessing follow-up care) needs to also be easy for the nursing staff to explain pre- discharge to the patient and any caregivers who may be with the patient.
- Educational: All video calls, emails, secure messaging, and text messages should reinforce the at-risk / at-home patients’ treatment plans, address current concerns about medication and reconciliation, and set expectations for future touchpoints. The program should be designed to conveniently bring care to the comfort of the patient’s home.
- Engaging: The optimal discharge program should strengthen the patients’ ability to self-manage as the older population seeks to age in place. Access to case managers, medical staff, and even pharmacists can be placed at the fingertips of the at-risk / at-home patients. The program itself can be as inclusive as possible; remote / out-of-state family members, neighbors, friends, and/or interpreters can be included in any of the video calls to ensure the patient is supported by all involved in his/her care.
A post-hospital discharge program utilizing a virtual care platform can help those seeking to age in place by drivingenhanced satisfaction and reducing costs for medical staff and patients while reducing the actual drivingto/from medical facilities. The objective is to holistically design – and deliver – the care around the patient’s needs and wishes to age in place
Senior couple next to the window