This project brings telehealth access to elderly and disadvantaged patients served by International Community Health Services, including residents at Legacy House, an assisted living facility, by providing video-enabled devices and technical support.
TeleHealth Access for Seniors, Inc will use these funds to purchase 80 affordable tablets and chargers to donate to International Community Health Services (ICHS) in King County. TeleHealth Access for Seniors, Inc has already donated a total of 60 devices, and ICHS notes a need of 80 more.
The donated devices will be given to residents at ICHS Legacy House, participants in the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and other patients in need who do not already have access to a smart device for telehealth appointments.
Residents at ICHS Legacy House are more than 87 years old on average and experience several health issues including memory loss, judgment impairment, mental health challenges, ambulatory difficulties, and a variety of other chronic and underlying health challenges. As older adults face an elevated risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, ICHS has implemented strict visitation guidelines per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations. Therefore, convenient access to connect with not only healthcare providers but also loved ones will serve both the physical and mental health of these patients.
Participants enrolled in PACE are seniors aged 55 with disabilities, or those aged 65 or older. PACE provides services to help elderly patients “age in place” at home instead of moving into a nursing home by creating individualized care plans to address each patient’s specific medical concerns. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this approach allowed ICHS providers to check on patients at their own homes and make adjustments as needed to maximize health, comfort, and convenience. Ever since the start of the pandemic, PACE is more important than ever as it keeps high-risk patients at home and healthy. However, in-home visitation by health providers has been replaced by telehealth to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure for these elderly patients. By ensuring access to the proper devices required for telehealth appointments, we are able to help ICHS continue its mission to help elderly patients age healthily and comfortably at home through PACE.
TeleHealth Access for Seniors provides translated, printable technical support guides to help seniors get started with using their devices. These guides show patients how to set up devices, find and connect to WiFi hotspots, use telehealth apps to connect to their physicians, order grocery and pharmacy delivery, etc. To ensure the guides are directly useful for the patients at ICHS, TeleHealth Access for Seniors, Inc’s technical support team has translated these guides into several languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Arabic. For the 52% of patients that ICHS serves who require interpretation services, the availability of these guides in their first languages is critical. TeleHealth Access for Seniors, Inc’s team is also working to translate guides into additional languages to serve an even broader and more diverse patient population.
The Washington State Chapter works and communicates with ICHS to ensure that the device models provided support the telehealth apps they use, such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, as well as MyChart, an electronic medical record platform. For instance, TeleHealth Access for Seniors, Inc ensures that the iPhone and iPad models they donate run iOS versions that support these apps. They have also collaborated with ICHS to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various tablet models we are able to purchase from monetary donations, and decide on the model(s) that optimize both affordability and user-friendliness.
Telehealth Access for Seniors, Inc
Telehealth Access for Seniors provide seniors and low-income communities with devices, instructions, and free tech-support to connect them to their physicians via TeleHealth, friends and family using digital connectivity, and wellness tools via apps.