Home health care for seniors is more common than ever, and the demand for home care services is expected to increase dramatically over the next two decades as more of the baby boomer generation ages. Seniors and the elderly make up the fastest growing segment of the American population. As a result, more seniors are living longer with chronic diseases than ever before. A critical part of managing chronic diseases and home health care is the careful monitoring of a senior’s vital signs. Changes in a senior’s health can often be detected by observing changes in vital signs that are affected by a senior’s health condition. Visiting nurse agencies have started to use remote vital sign monitoring equipment in the homes of seniors that need greater attention paid to their daily readings of blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, weight or blood sugar.
What is Remote Vital Sign Monitoring
A visiting nurse agency will recommend remote vital sign monitoring equipment to those seniors that require frequent monitoring, but do not require a nurse to take their vital signs. The visiting nurse agency will install the monitoring equipment in the senior’s home. During this visit, the senior or their caregiver is trained how to use the equipment. The monitoring equipment can connect to the Internet either through a phone line or through a high-speed Internet connection to transmit the collected data to the visiting nurse agency. There are many different types of vital sign monitoring equipment available. Some equipment requires that the senior input their readings into the machine by hand while others will have devices, like a blood pressure cuff, connected to it and the readings are saved directly to the machine. The monitoring device then transmits the data to the nursing agency on a predefined schedule. The visiting nursing agency or the senior’s physician will review the collected data to make sure that the senior’s condition is stable. The senior’s nurse can review any abnormal readings, and contact the senior to determine what action needs to be taken to improve their condition. The ability to react quickly may avoid the need for costly hospitalization.
Remote Vital Sign Monitoring Costs
Medicare insurance covers the costs for remote vital sign monitoring equipment as part of covered home health services. Medicaid also covers vital sign monitoring equipment for participating seniors with chronic health conditions. Those seniors that are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid can pay for home health monitoring out of pocket in the form of a monthly fee.
Chronic diseases and conditions are expensive to manage and monitor using visiting nurses alone. Remote vital sign monitoring helps to reduce the cost of the necessary monitoring. A senior that does not carefully monitor a serious health condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease will not notice changes in their condition that can severely affect their overall health. This can lead to increased hospitalizations, added healthcare expenses, and a reduced quality of life for the senior. To contact a local visiting nurse or home care agency that can provide remote monitoring services, please search for Medical care providers at Caring for a Senior.