Hampton, Iowa (Aug. 14, 2018) --- Residents in nursing homes in remote portions of northcentral and southeastern Iowa now have access to cutting-edge technology that gives them bedside access to primary and specialty care services that until now were mostly available only in urban and larger metropolitan areas.
ABCM Corp. has implemented advanced telemedicine models at seven of its rural rehabilitation and long-term care facilities. The program assigns a dedicated practitioner to each facility, where clinicians are available on weekdays and on demand to work virtually with on-site nursing teams as part of regular and scheduled rounds.
“For 50 years, ABCM’s goal has been to provide ideal care to our residents,” ABCM Executive Medical Director Dr. Samuel Stanton said. “How care is delivered in the 21st century is changing rapidly. Patient care, health-care organizations, payment systems, regulations and everything else are becoming so complex today they confuse us all and we lose sight of the patient. This model aims to cut through the noise and keep resident care front and center where it belongs.”
Having daily virtual access to an on-site medical team in rural nursing homes helps to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations when medical conditions change. It also reduces the need for long, costly and uncomfortable trips outside of rural facilities for basic evaluations or specialty consults and eliminates the delays in waiting for an open appointment.
And, with so many changes affecting long-term care, especially among nursing homes, the telemedicine program, TapestryCare™ by Tapestry Telehealth, is designed to help facilities improve Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quality and rating measures.
ABCM Corp. has launched the program in the following facilities:
Bloomfield Care Center - Bloomfield, Davis County
Lake Mills Care Center - Lake Mills, Winnebago County
Manor House Care Center - Sigourney, Keokuk County
Morning Sun Care Center - Morning Sun, Louisa County
Rehabilitation Center of Belmond - Belmond, Wright County
Rehabilitation Center of Hampton - Hampton, Franklin County
Westview Care Center - Britt, Hancock County
The programs in place at these facilities are unique telemedicine models that provide a dedicated nurse practitioner supported by a full-scope multi-specialty medical and behavioral health group. Most telemedicine programs offer only silos of care --- for wound care or psychiatry, for example --- rather than a comprehensive medical team.
Having a dedicated practitioner is important because it means he or she gets to know the residents and patients as much as the staff, and that knowledge and consistency of care help to improve medical outcomes.
The primary care team includes nurse practitioners who integrate with the facilities’ attending physicians. Specialty services include wound care, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, neurology, pain control, palliative care, pulmonology, renal-nephrology and physiatry. Patients have access to daily behavioral services, including both scheduled and 24/7 emergency mental health care and family communication and support.
“Everyone deserves access to quality health care, no matter where they live,” Tapestry’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Chess said. “But making sure medical care is available on site every day in rural nursing homes is a challenge. Programs like this close the gap to improve lives and enhance care. Telemedicine services also reduce costs on our health-care system by helping to prevent avoidable and unnecessary hospitalizations.”
How Rural Telemedicine Works
All of ABCM’s facilities have access to easy-to-use, portable telemedicine carts that put medical professionals at the bedside as part of daily rounds or in moments when conditions change or concerns emerge. The stations are designed for quick visits and simple setup to save nurses time and make seeing patients easy.
A large monitor allows residents and medical professionals to see and speak directly with each other in real time. Working closely with facility nursing staff, clinicians examine patients using a digitally enhanced stethoscope to listen to the heart, lungs and chest; an otoscope to examine the throat and ears; and a high-definition camera to examine even the smallest wound or skin irritation.
The facility nurse and telehealth clinician also work cooperatively to conduct thorough abdominal, musculoskeletal and neurological examinations. Each visit takes about five minutes for the physical assessment. The telehealth clinicians can order tests, start treatments and monitor conditions, and because they are dedicated to the facilities, they stay involved every step of the way to ensure patients get healthy and families stay informed.
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ABCM Corp. is a multi-level provider and has been a leader in long-term care for more than 50 years. Currently, ABCM Corp. owns and operates 31 rehabilitation and long-term care centers, as well as 24 independent and assisted living apartments, throughout Iowa. For more information about care and services provided by ABCM Corp., please visit www.abcmcorp.com.
For more information about Tapestry Telehealth and its TapestryCare™ telemedicine program, please visit: www.tapestrytelehealth.com.