Wireless Patient Monitoring Holds the Key to Better Patient Care & Possibly the Prevention of Pressure Ulcers

By Nursing Home Law Center

Wireless

Many hospitals and nursing homes suffer from understaffing. These understaffed facilities are unable to provide the best possible care to its patients and residents. This leads to an increased number of preventable deaths and injuries. One possible tool to help combat this problem is the use of remote monitoring devices. Inadequate supervision and staffing at nursing homes is no excuse for poor patient care. (See “Are assisted living facilities responsible for the prevention of bed sores in their patients”).

Remote monitoring devices allow for wireless patient monitoring. The monitors typically track temperature, pulse, blood pressure, glucose, and personal data (weight, pain, drugs). The system can record and transmit data to doctors. In the case of patients who do not live near medical support, it can transmit vital information to doctors to alert them of any change in patient status. For nursing home residents, remote monitoring can help staff better monitor residents and focus their attention on the patients who need medical assistance. The system is particularly helpful for monitoring patients with chronic diseases including diabetes, heart failure, and patients recovering from strokes. In addition, remote monitoring prevents unnecessary trips to the doctor and hospital, which can reduce costs.

As new technologies are incorporated into patient care, there must also be standards set on how to monitor data and how often. Even though doctors and nurses do not need to physically take a patient’s vital signs, they still need to review the data. However, overall, this will free up a lot of time for doctors and nurses because of reduced need for office visits.

The FCC (Federal Trade Commission) delivered its National Broadband Plan to Congress in March. The FCC promotes broadband to save money in healthcare with the use of remote monitoring of health records and patients’ vital signs. Together, remote monitoring and electronic health records could save as much as $700 billion over 15-25 years.

Remote monitoring offers one option to improve patient care and safety, while also reducing costs. But, it is unclear how likely the use of remote monitoring will be in nursing homes in the near future. Until then, it is critically important that nursing homes are properly staffed, so that residents receive the proper care and supervision to achieve or maintain the best possible health and prevent medical conditions such as pressure ulcers.

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