Published on April 06, 2015

Live well at home with the Telehealth Program

woman on phonePlenty of support. The right guidance. And peace of mind knowing that someone is there for you when you need them.

That’s what patients living with heart failure often look for. And that’s just what people find when they use Mercy Home Health’s Telehealth program.

Help is at hand Learning how to manage heart failure takes time. There are things you need to do to care for yourself. And there are things you need to watch for that will tell you how well you’re doing.

The Telehealth program helps with both. It offers you the chance to stay in your home and live independently. But nurses check on you. And they monitor your health daily—with the aid of technology and your involvement.

“It’s comforting for people to know someone is watching out for them,” says Telehealth Nurse Coordinator Joyce Leary, BSN, RN. But it serves another purpose too. “It helps prevent hospitalizations and frequent emergency department visits,” she adds.

Watching for warning signs

If you participate in the Telehealth program, you will receive a blood pressure cuff, a digital scale and a machine that measures how much oxygen is in your blood. These tools are linked up to your telephone or cell phone. Each morning, you take your blood pressure, weigh yourself and check your blood oxygen level.

This information is automatically transmitted to a nurse, who reviews it. The nurse watches for things like weight gain, low oxygen levels or high blood pressure. All of these can indicate that heart failure is getting worse.

If there’s reason for concern, the nurse will contact you—and your healthcare providers, if needed.

Your doctor may then recommend a change in treatment to get you back on track. It might be something as simple as adding a water pill.

“The idea is that if you spot trouble early, you can correct it. That keeps a small problem from becoming a larger one,” Leary says.

Keeping track

“We ask patients to keep a log of their readings too,” she adds. “It helps them get a better understanding of their disease process and what to look for with their vital signs.”

That way, when you no longer receive home health services, you’re better able to manage your heart failure on their own. And that’s what it’s all about—helping people take charge and live happy, healthy lives.