The COVID-19 outbreak, an unprecedented event in modern history, has overwhelmed health systems worldwide. While hospitals are, of course, experiencing the most challenging effects of the crisis—being both shorthanded in staff and in personal protection equipment—other essential operations, such as senior living communities, are also experiencing difficult challenges. Older adults—especially those with medical conditions—are one of the most at-risk populations for COVID-19, making it essential that they follow stay-at-home orders and self-isolate. So, what does that mean for their medical care and, in effect, your senior living community? DispatchHealth is here to support you as much as possible throughout this crisis by providing safe, convenient medical care for your senior residents while still allowing them to maintain safe social distancing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Providing Convenient, In-Home Medical Care for Seniors in Self-Isolation
As the coronavirus makes its way around the globe, forcing people to stay at home and shutting down businesses, it’s easy for individuals to feel like life is paused—especially the residents of your senior living community who are unable to engage in daily routines, social gatherings, and family visits which are vital to both physical and mental health. But the reality is that life isn’t paused—medical concerns, illnesses, and conditions unrelated to COVID-19 continue to affect seniors across the globe. And unfortunately, isolation can even make underlying conditions worse; studies have proven a correlation between isolation and physical health in seniors, showing that isolation can increase risk factors for dementia and cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Health concerns in older adults still necessitate care and attention, despite the fact that our healthcare systems are currently overwhelmed in many cities.
That’s where DispatchHealth comes in. We’re working more diligently than ever during the COVID-19 crisis to continue to provide safe, in-home medical care for seniors who are self-isolating. We partner with independent living (IL), assisted living (AL), memory care, skilled nursing facilities (SNF), hospice and palliative care to safely deliver acute care to residents’ homes, helping them age in place.
Our internal processes and capabilities are evolving quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety of our patients, communities, and medical teams is our number one priority. Our team has worked diligently to develop comprehensive infection prevention protocols and obtain adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to enable our medical teams to safely expand the reach of our care in the communities we serve.
When care is requested via our website, our app, or over the phone, two providers will arrive at your senior living community within a few hours—including a DispatchHealth medical technician and a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant, with an ER physician always available by phone for consultations—to provide in-home medical care without requiring your residents to leave their units. And after we’re through, we’ll send a report to their primary care physician, as well, to ensure seamless continuity of care. To make things simple, we accept most major forms of insurance—including Medicare and Medicaid..
How We’re Responding to COVID-19
In regard to our test capabilities:
- Tests will be provided when a DispatchHealth provider deems appropriate after assessing the patient.
- Samples will be taken with a nasal pharyngeal swab and sent to a national lab for processing.
- These results will be back within 48 hours and we will contact the patient with their results.
- COVID-19 tests are conducted by an external laboratory, therefore, the billing is handled separately from DispatchHealth.
- Putting on PPE will occur at the entry to the specific unit where the patient care will take place unless the facility has specifically arranged for an alternate location (lobby, changing area, etc.).
- Taking off PPE will occur at the exit of the specific unit where care was completed and prior to entry into the main corridors of the community.
- All PPE used for patient protection or care should be collected and disposed of in the patient’s unit or completely bagged and sealed prior to entry into the corridors of the community.
Minimizing the Negative Impact of EMS Transportation on Senior Living Communities
You’re likely well aware of how common EMS transportation tends to be among senior living communities. But have you considered the negative impacts of EMS transportation as compared to the solutions that DispatchHealth provides, especially during a time like this?
Transitioning seniors between the home and the hospital for non-COVID-19-related illnesses can cause unnecessary emotional stress, disrupting routines and upsetting those with memory loss—especially when a trip to the ER isn’t always needed. Additionally, it can be tough to maintain a consistent and clear continuum of care between a resident’s EMS crew, primary care physician, living community, and other healthcare providers when healthcare systems are so overwhelmed with the COVID-19 crisis. DispatchHealth can help you bystep this frustrating issue entirely by providing in-home care for a wide variety of conditions and illnesses—no ambulance necessary.
Now’s the Right Time to Partner with DispatchHealth
The COVID-19 outbreak is difficult enough for your senior living community to contend with without having to worry about costly, inconvenient, and potentially unsafe trips to the emergency room or urgent care clinic. Partnering with DispatchHealth can help bring your residents peace of mind by providing them with a safe way to receive medical treatment for underlying or emergent conditions while still adhering to the CDC’s self-isolation guidelines for seniors. Contact DispatchHealth today to learn more about how we can support your senior living community.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
Sources referenced in this article: