With the Delta variant once again causing a surge in Covid-19 admissions, hospitals are being stretched to their limits. Nursing staff and bed availability are at all-time lows and seriously ill patients keep coming into maxed-out Emergency Departments.
The desire to care for patients is ingrained into every healthcare professional so how do they keep caring for patients when they don’t have the bandwidth? RPM can be the solution.
ICU bed shortages
States are reporting a record shortage of available intensive care beds. Some hospitals have been forced to transfer patients to other facilities, possibly hundreds of miles away from their friends and family. Others have had to turn ill patients away and hope that they don’t take a turn for the worse.
Nursing staff shortages
In addition to bed shortages, hospitals are experiencing historic nursing shortages. As the Covid-19 pandemic is well into its second year, many nurses are experiencing burnout and opting to leave the profession. Long hours and the pain of watching patients succumb to the virus have taken a toll. The lack of qualified nurses puts additional strain, however, on hospitals. Even if they have the ICU beds to accommodate patients, they may not have adequate staff to care for them.
How RPM can help
As patients become seriously ill with Covid-19, their first thought is to head to the hospital, where the ED has to make some difficult decisions. If the patient isn’t critical, the staff may be reluctant to give them a valuable bed when someone with more severe symptoms may soon follow. However, if they send the patient home and then their condition deteriorates, there may not be time for the patient to return upon realizing how severely ill they are.
This is where RPM can come in. Hospitals can send seriously ill – but not critical – patients home with a pulse oximeter and blood pressure cuff and have them frequently monitor their vital signs. A downward trend in readings can signal to the provider that the patient needs to head back to the ED immediately for admission, often before a patient would realize their situation has escalated on their own.
CW can bridge the care gap
The Community Wellness MyWellness Connect™ app is free for patients to download and our team can walk them through every step of setting up the devices and tracking their blood pressure and oxygen levels.
Our Alert & Triage Algorithm kicks in when a reading outside of safe parameters is recorded. The Community Wellness Patient Success team will reach out to the patient and ask them to take another reading. If that reading is also concerning, the provider is notified immediately to review the vital signs and determine appropriate next steps for their patient.
In these unprecedented times, health systems and hospitals need to have every possible resource at their disposal. RPM has become more prevalent and patients are increasingly comfortable with telemedicine now. Let’s embrace the future today when we need it most.
Learn more about our COVID Home Management program.