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Is Telehealth the Solution for Rural Caregivers?



Telehealth is a growing trend in modern healthcare. This form of remote medical care could soon improve the lives of thousands of elders and caregivers.


Isolation is not a new issue for caregivers. With the majority of caregiving responsibilities falling on one person, it can quickly lead to problems. Sadly, not all caregivers have access to respite care, home health aides, and other means of temporary relief.


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It can lead to caregiver burnout. It can also lead to health issues for the caregiver as the needs of the elderly intensify with time. This can be a problem anywhere, but it is more severe in rural areas.


The Issues With Rural Senior Care


We all like to think that caring for the elderly is so mainstream now that we all have access to dozens of tools and services to make it safer, easier, and more affordable.


But we don't.


Seniors and caregivers who live in rural areas and small towns may have little more than a local clinic with an overworked doctor to help them through times of need. Major emergencies are transferred to larger, distant hospitals, and minor issues, including emotional support, are often brushed aside with a "do the best you can" attitude.


Often, serious health conditions may be overlooked or misdiagnosed due to small facilities with limited testing equipment.


For caregivers, respite care and support groups are not even a possibility, and combined with the daily stress of caregiving comes the anxiety over whether or not a loved one could be transported in time if a major emergency arose.


How could telehealth help that? 


The possibilities are endless and amazing. With simple technology, caregivers could have access to medical advice at all times. Not only does that relieve a tremendous amount of stress, it could provide immediate solutions to problems occurring in real time.


  • Better than waiting for hours for someone to answer a question on a forum or medical website. 
  • Better than waiting for a call back from a busy clinic
  • Better than suffering through a medical crisis with no way to access healthcare

With remote monitoring available for certain health conditions, seniors may even have the choice to age in place longer. 






Resources


Personally, I am excited for this "trend" to become the new mainstream. Not only can it benefit the elderly and their caregivers, it could help small hospitals too. Imagine a world where no matter where you were, you had instant access to some of the best healthcare.


Here are some articles with more information on telehealth:


Telehealth Services: Great News for Seniors and Their Caregivers


Hospitals Look to Telehealth


New Tools for Family Caregivers--AARP


About Home Telehealth