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To overcome obstacles in senior health care, virtual care has become a standard in senior living and aging services.

Virtual care techniques have been used for over a decade and have moved beyond infancy stages. Several top providers of senior living services accept virtual care as an effective means to administer support. Furthermore, seniors and staff providing care recognize the value of technology-enabled solutions. If you’re in your retirement years, you’re likely to experience some form of virtual care in your lifetime.

The Need for More Professional Caregivers

One of the more prevalent applications of virtual care is overcoming staffing shortages and retention in care facilities. Recruiting, paying, and retaining necessary staff for senior care is one of the most significant issues senior care facilities face as a whole. Virtual care can be made available during staffing shortages, particularly during after-hours, weekend care, and holidays. Provider oversight includes platforms using audio and video applications at the patient’s bedside 24 hours a day. An alert system triggers human intervention in a crisis. The virtual monitoring of senior residents is tied to a crew of care providers that intervene in an emergency and provide complex or urgent care.

Implementation and Oversight

Advancing positive outcomes is the goal. Proper implementation and oversight of virtual care systems can avoid unnecessary hospitalization, reducing health care costs and stress on aging seniors, their caregivers, and family. Because health care is becoming prohibitively expensive, senior care providers view virtual care as a high priority for health care reform. The 2018 Telehealth Industry Trends presentation shows “… after-hours skilled nursing virtual care providers have successfully treated more than 80 percent of skilled nursing residents in place using virtual care technologies.” Health care provided onsite helps residents avoid expensive hospitalization costs and trauma associated with patient emergency hospital trips.

Saving Money by Aging in Place

Virtual care is ideal for helping seniors “age in place”. Older adults are increasingly interested in technological applications to improve their aging experience and allow them to maintain healthy independence while remaining in their own homes. In an adverse health event, remote monitoring and wearable technologies can immediately alert care providers or loved ones. For seniors with chronic conditions, this 24/7 monitoring can bring peace of mind. By using an integrated virtual system, the senior also plays an active role in their wellbeing. Home monitoring smart speaker service solutions for seniors are being aggressively developed and marketed by nontraditional health care companies like Amazon and Google.

Convenience in Rural Communities

Independent senior living will benefit from virtual care technologies in rural markets where seniors often have trouble finding convenient care options. However, they must have reliable internet connectivity. Some rural internet connections are unreliable or nonexistent. Programs like Connect Americans Now are working to bridge the digital divide and provide reliable broadband connectivity for some 19.4 million Americans living in rural areas. Virtual systems can help monitor vital signs of health for difficult-to-reach senior populations and enhance social engagement to offset feelings of loneliness and isolation. These rural seniors benefit immensely by easily interacting with healthcare professionals and maintaining social contact with friends and loved ones. Overall, virtual care technologies can bring better health care and quality of life to rural seniors.

Virtual technology has many applications to benefit aging seniors at home, in retirement communities, and healthcare facilities by providing 24-hour monitoring and oversight. And aging in place can be much safer, particularly for those seniors in rural communities.

If you have any questions about virtual care for you or a loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact our elder law attorneys. Our law firm is dedicated to informing you of issues affecting seniors who may be experiencing declining health. We help you and your loved ones prepare for potential long-term medical expenses and the need to transition to in-home care, assisted living care, or nursing facility care. Contact us at (352) 565-7737! We look forward to hearing from you!

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