A Cobar patient has successfully completed the first trial of the new in-home tele-monitoring service as part of the Western NSW Integrated Care Strategy.
The Ministry of Health’s Rural eHealth Program recently provided funding to the Western NSW Local Health District to complete a 12 month trial of in-home monitoring devices with suitable patients.
Locations participating in the trial included Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange and Parkes, Cobar, Molong, Cowra, Blayney and Wellington.
Participation in the trial was free and patients were supplied with a monitoring device that allowed them to measure blood pressure, temperature, blood oxygen saturation, blood glucose, their weight and ECG.
The data was wirelessly transmitted back to an assigned community or practice-based nurse, who remotely checked the patient’s vital signs at least once a day, meaning patients who are unwell but do not require frequent monitoring can be cared for in the comfort of their own home.
The first patient was a Cobar man who successfully used the tele-monitoring device for more than two weeks at home.
Cobar’s Integrated Care project lead Genie McMullen said since then two other Cobar patients have begun using the devices.
“We are really excited to be given this opportunity to trial the devices,” she said.
“We hope that the in-home monitoring devices will allow patients to come home from hospital earlier or avoid hospitalisation altogether,” Mrs McMullen said.
“It’s also freeing up hospital beds for the more acutely unwell patients.
“Our first patient in Cobar was very happy with his in-home monitoring experience and has expressed a desire to use it again if required.”
Once a patient and their doctor has consented to use the in-home monitoring service, health staff come to the patient’s home to install and train the patient to use the equipment.
If there are any significant changes to the patient’s readings during the monitoring period, the patient will be visited by a nurse or GP and admitted to hospital if necessary.
Previous in-home monitoring trials have shown an increase in patient involvement in their health and symptom management; an earlier recognition of vital sign deviations; earlier intervention and fewer hospital admissions or reduced length of stay; and increased patient satisfaction with their health care.
The Western NSW Integrated Care Strategy is a NSW Health initiative aimed at transforming patient care to improve health outcomes for rural and remote communities and reduce the number of avoidable hospital admissions.
Cobar is one of nine towns in Western NSW currently pioneering the Integrated Care Strategy. Anyone in Cobar who is interested in enrolling in the Integrated Care Strategy should ask their GP.