WEST LIBERTY – Green Hills Community hosted an open house on Nov. 15 for a grant-funded, two-year pilot project to bring telehealth care to its residents. The senior living care provider is one of two communities in Ohio to offer a CareSpace clinic that houses a 55-inch 3D monitor to allow an off-site doctor to see, diagnose, treat and interact with patients.
“A lot of times the technology is available to hospitals, but to have this kind of technology in the nursing home space is unique,” said Stephanie DeWees, vice president and administrator of Green Hills. “We’re one of the only two in Ohio, and the only one with the full spectrum; the other facility has a mobile device. So we’re elated over it. It’s the same technology that’s utilized through Air Force One.”
Green Hills residents can enter a specialized exam room with a nurse who establishes a connection to a similar device in the home of Dr. Charles Kratz, the primary physician for the facility. Using high-tech equipment, such as a stethoscope that allows the doctor at home to hear the patient’s heart and lung sounds just as if he were in the room, the patient can be diagnosed 24 hours a day and treated on-site or taken to a hospital. Family members may connect in as well using a smartphone app or computer; the system allows up to 26 people to dial in at one time.
This project is a collaboration of LeadingAge Ohio, Green Hills Community, Ohio Eastern Star Home and the Optimized Care Network to bring telemedicine into nursing facilities located in rural settings. The goal is to demonstrate how increased, responsive access to care reduces hospital admissions and re-admissions and increases quality of life for nursing home residents with complex medical issues.
Funding comes from the Ohio Department of Medicaid and is dedicated to supporting programs in nursing facilities to make life better for residents.
DeWees said Green Hills was chosen for this pilot project because the facility already had a good relationship with LeadingAge Ohio and its quality measures were five stars.
“Green Hills is known to LeadingAge Ohio as being progressive and proactive and thoughtful and responsible,” said Linda Mauger, Community Health and Aging executive of Optimized Care Network. “So we knew we could count on them to be part of a successful project.”
Ohio State University’s office of geriatrics and inter-professional aging studies will be part of tracking data from this study to meet grant requirements.
Green Hills staff began training on the new equipment on Nov. 1 and expect the CareSpace to be used every week as a normal part of the operation. More information is available at www.greenhillscommunity.org.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304