SOUTH East residents are benefiting from innovative technology that helps monitor their health at home in a bid to reduce the impacts of chronic conditions, as well as support residential-based recovery.
The Country Health SA Virtual Clinical Care Monitoring Hub uses simple monitoring techniques and client feedback to identify medical “red flags” and help direct health concerns through the appropriate channels, while building client confidence in the home setting.
The statewide hub – run by five experienced nurses across a seven-day roster – has helped improve health outcomes for people with chronic conditions and reduced the burden on the hospital system.
Over the past six months, 116 clients were supported, 7877 services were provided, 61 emergency department presentations were saved and 99 hospital admissions avoided.
The hub is currently supporting seven clients across the South East, including in Mount Gambier and Millicent.
Country Health Connect better care in the community coordinator Tony Potts said “ground-breaking” technology allowed clients to be monitored for up to six months.
“The whole aim of the project is to detect deteriorating conditions at home before they arrive at the hospital too late,” he said.
“It is teaching clients about identifying risks themselves as these cardiac, respiratory, diabetes and complex diseases are things clients will be with forever.
“The whole system works on building confidence and empowers the client from their own home.”
Hub associate nurse unit manager, respiratory and chronic condition nurse Jodie Collins said the system involves the client measuring their own blood pressure, weight and oxygen levels as well as answering a series of tailored questions.
“Depending on how they answer the question is how or if a red flag will be detected,” Ms Collins said.
“Me or another hub monitor will evaluate the results and detect red flags to be further referred to the best point of contact for a follow-up.
“It captures important data for specialists and doctors to show patient trends which can identify deterioration before it gets out-of-hand.”
Ms Collins said the system is free for patients and is convenient, easy and adaptable.
“People are also able to take their equipment with them too if they are wanting to go on a holiday,” she said.
“Sometimes clients will not want to come off the plan as they feel more comfortable with somebody looking over them each day.
“The positive feedback is reassuring and we hope the system can evolve and be available for more vulnerable conditions.”
First implemented in 2015, the hub’s success was recently acknowledged at the annual Country Health SA awards for excellence in person-centred care, nursing and midwifery excellence and the populations accolade.
“We have the can do attitude and see the benefits from the Lucindale farmer or the Mount Gambier retirement village resident,” Mr Potts said.
“The device is simple to navigate and we have had people from 50 years of age through to 100 years of age having no problems with using the technology.
“They are also taught how to do it which improves their self esteem.”
Both Mr Potts and Ms Collins believe the system will evolve from here on in.
“It is now embedded into the medical system, improving patient’s quality of life,” Mr Potts said.
“Some facilities do not have the ability to have a nurse visit a patient every day at their house and it is not efficient use of time.
“As long as a person has mobile phone coverage, they have the ability to be monitored and it is a win-win for everyone involved.”