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Homecare client Wing-Tuck Lee <br>measures his own vital signs.
Homecare client Wing-Tuck Lee
measures his own vital signs.

The Web Of Wisdom

Home care clients embrace Telehealth Services

The future of health care… is here! Home care clients embrace ‘Web Of Wisdom’ approach

Take a minute to imagine this: you are about to have an experience with the health system. In the past, you would hop in your car or wait for a bus. Once you reach your destination, you may need to wait, read old magazines, wait some more, then spend 15 minutes receiving direction about your health care.

Now, imagine the future. You can receive health education and care, anywhere, anytime. You can enjoy the comfort and independence of staying at home, while having the reassurance of professional monitoring and care. You can access customized and comprehensive information about your health condition, connect with members of your health team when and where you need to, and participate meaningfully in your own care.

Which do you prefer?

WOW Wound Care

Barbara Campbell is an e-health pioneer. Through an initiative known as Web Of Wisdom or WOW, the London, Ontario resident and her husband Ewyn are discovering how innovation and technology can be effectively combined to enhance home care visits and provide faster, more frequent access to the expertise of a wound care nurse specialist.

Barbara is receiving home nursing visits for the care of her foot ulcer. In addition to having multiple sensitivities to wound care products, Barbara is a slow healer. Therefore, an individualized care plan and regular input from a specialist is essential to ensure effective and appropriate treatment.

Before WOW Wound Care, Barbara and her visiting nurse Sherry Green often had to wait several weeks or even months to receive advice from the specialist. Now, through the use of digital photography, laptop computers and a secure web-based application, they can get a response back within 24 hours. That’s because the specialist can pay Barbara a visit without actually going anywhere; instead, she logs on from a remote location and reviews Barbara’s progress online, including comprehensive assessments by her visiting nurse and detailed images of the wound. With a click of the mouse, the specialist answers their questions and provides feedback and direction as appropriate.

Like most home care clients, Barbara and Ewyn value their independence and the opportunity to actively participate in their care. While Ewyn performs the bulk of Barbara’s daily dressing changes, they both appreciate the reassurance of regular home visits and coaching from health care professionals. After just five weeks in the program, Barbara’s wound has become healthier and significantly smaller. When she considers this from the comfort of her favourite living room armchair, there’s only one word to describe her experience: WOW!

WOW Cardiac Care

With a background in electrical engineering, Wing-Tuck Lee loves numbers and logic.
His propensity for technology and his desire
Cardiac care nurse Sharon McGonigle monitors homecare clients remotely.
Cardiac care nurse Sharon McGonigle
monitors homecare clients remotely.
to know and understand his physical condition makes him a natural candidate for WOW Cardiac Care, an innovative approach to education and care that combines independent e-learning for clients with remote daily monitoring of vital signs.

Wing-Tuck was recently referred to home care after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and making several visits to North York emergency rooms on account of high anxiety levels and alarming symptoms such as heart failure and shortness of breath. The goals of the in-home care plan were to monitor daily vital signs, provide client education and reduce anxiety.

Instead of the home care nurse making daily visits to take the client’s vital signs, Wing-Tuck records his own weight, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and oxygen saturation using in-home telemonitoring equipment. As the client follows simple, step-by-step voice prompt instructions, the device records and transmits Wing-Tuck’s data to a cardiac care nurse, who can immediately alert the visiting nurse if his vital signs fall outside the pre-set acceptable range. This allows for the detection of slight health changes and their correction before problems escalate.

But the cardiac care nurse isn’t the only one who is monitoring Wing-Tuck’s condition. The e-learning component of WOW Cardiac Care helps the client understand his symptoms and medications, and interpret the meaning of his own results. Along with the customized health education is a data management system that allows Wing-Tuck to track his overall health. This knowledge and learning has not only reduced Wing-Tuck’s anxiety, but also given him a heightened sense of control over his condition.

No stranger to self-monitoring, Wing-Tuck has been testing his own blood sugar to manage his diabetes for years. He is keenly meticulous about keeping a logbook of all his daily health data, which he brings to appointments with health professionals. Wing-Tuck points to the day his high blood pressure dropped after receiving a treatment from a massage therapist. In addition to moderating his own lifestyle to optimize his health and wellbeing, Wing-Tuck helps others gain a sense of calmness and control, teaching Tai Chi to seniors at local community centres and nursing homes.

With a commitment to transform health care and meet the evolving needs of clients and communities, Saint Elizabeth Health Care has pioneered the Web Of Wisdom (WOW) approach by bundling its own innovative web-based care and education programs with remote monitoring tools and technologies. WOW Wound Care and WOW Cardiac Care were recently tested by clients and health care providers in multiple environments across Canada, including urban, rural and remote locations. For more information about the social and economic benefits of WOW, please visit www.saintelizabeth.com.

By: Madonna Tonack, Public Affairs Specialist, Saint Elizabeth Health Care


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