Release Date: 09-19-2007 Click here for a larger view
(Honesdale, September 17, 2007)… Wayne Memorial Hospital’s Home Health Department is now using telemonitoring equipment to keep track of patients’ vital signs in their homes, a system designed to help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. Monica Palka, 85, is one of the first in the area to be “hooked up.” The equipment uses voice and text prompts to help Palka record her weight, heart rate, oxygen level and blood pressure. The lifelong Honesdale resident, who recently suffered a heart attack, says the daily monitoring gives her a sense of security.
“It’s a good feeling to know for sure what everything looks like from one day to the next, and that if something is wrong, someone will respond. I really think this is a good thing.”
Every morning, Palka’s vital sign measurements are transmitted via a regular telephone line back to a computer at Wayne Memorial Hospital’s Home Health office in Honesdale. The information is monitored by a registered nurse dedicated to that task each day.
“Each patient’s equipment is programmed specifically for that patient,” explains Mary Ellen Douglass, RN, Wayne Memorial Home Health. “An alarm is set if a patient’s vitals go too high or too low. If a measurement is abnormal for that patient, the alarm is triggered in our computers. The registered nurse monitoring the reading responds appropriately.”
The equipment also asks yes-or-no questions specific to each patient’s condition. For example, “Are you more short of breath today than yesterday?” “Did you need more pillows last night?”