12:16 p.m.

Osler-led initiative uses technology to connect Long-Term Care residents with Geriatricians

For many seniors living in long-term care (LTC) homes, it’s extremely difficult – if not impossible – to leave the facility for medical appointments or clinic visits. These seniors often have multiple diagnoses and complex conditions that require specialized care and consultations with specialists not available in the LTC home.

Osler’s Nurse-Led Outreach Team (NLOT) is using Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to help improve access to specialized care for seniors living in long-term care. The team’s Nurse Practitioners travel to LTC homes across the Central West region to provide care and support to residents and their families. In 2014, the NLOT team began using OTN personal video conferencing via their laptops to provide secure virtual care between LTC residents, their families and LTC staff, and Osler-based Geriatricians – physicians who specialize in seniors’ health.

Through these virtual consultations, Geriatricians provide specialized consultations, and support to LTC residents and their families as they navigate their health care journey. Studies show that elderly patients who see a Geriatrician experience better health outcomes, including fewer falls, less medications, improved quality of life and fewer trips to the Emergency Department.

The response to the initial virtual care trial was so positive that, in the last year, the program has grown to include eight different LTC facilities in Brampton and Etobicoke. As technology changes and evolves, we are constantly looking for innovative new ways to use it to better connect with our patients and our community.