Over 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and this number continues to accelerate as generations age (Alzheimer Society, 2020). The incidence of the disease not only affects those with the disease but also family, friends, and the healthcare system. That is why it is the responsibility of Canadians to educate themselves of this real problem. There is a current crisis with the Canadian healthcare system as countless long-term care homes and hospitals are ill-equipped to meet individuals living with Alzheimer’s (Alzheimer Society, 2020). Furthermore, the stigma against Alzheimer’s results in Canadians unknowingly being unaware of the realities of the disease which frankly diminishes the experiences of those with the disease.
Improving the Quality of Care for those Involved
The development of telehealth and virtual technologies are enabling individuals with Alzheimer’s to have access to care despite any barriers. This is crucial as the traditional model of care for those living with Alzheimer’s relies on long term residential care with a heavy focus on the relationship between patient and primary care provider (Muller, 2019). This brings along many complications whether it be transportation or logistical. Fortunately, the popularization of telehealth opens opportunities where individuals with Alzheimer’s can schedule remote appointments or join educational health programs to improve their quality of care while staying in the comfort of their homes. Moreover, the development of reminder applications that assist patients with medication management has been proven to help with improving the quality of care.
A recent study from the University of California initiated a collaborative dementia program called the Care Ecosystem. Findings from this study suggested that telehealth improves caregiver well-being, quality of life, and reduced emergency department visits (Possin et al., 2019). This study incorporated many telehealth programs including phone calls, videoconferences, reminders and educational classes which all proved to be efficient in meeting the needs of both patients and caregivers.
Duty as Canadians
“Remote assessment could improve healthcare access for immobile or geographically isolated patients. We need to do a better job of protecting these individuals and giving them access to care.”
- – Maiya R. Geddes, MD, PhD., clinician-scientist and an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University.
To fully reap the benefits of telehealth, Canadians need to become aware of the potential advantages of technology. The future for telehealth services promises a hopeful era for improving the quality of care for Alzheimer’s patients and all those affected. For more information about our digital solutions, contact us to find a solution that can solve your needs.
Alzherimer Society. (2020). Change minds. Alzheimer Society of Canada. https://alzheimer.ca/en/take-action/change-minds
Muller, E. M. (2019, October 25). A Telehealth Approach in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease. Health Recovery Solutions. https://www.healthrecoverysolutions.com/blog/telehealth-alzheimers-disease
National Institute on Aging. (2020, September 23). Telehealth: Improving Dementia Care. https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/telehealth-improving-dementia-care
Possin, K. L., Merrilees, J. J., Dulaney, S., Bonasera, S. J., Chiong, W., Lee, K., Hooper, S. M., Allen, I. E., Braley, T., Bernstein, A., Rosa, T. D., Harrison, K., Begert-Hellings, H., Kornak, J., Kahn, J. G., Naasan, G., Lanata, S., Clark, A. M., Chodos, A., … Miller, B. L. (2019). Effect of Collaborative Dementia Care via Telephone and Internet on Quality of Life, Caregiver Well-being, and Health Care Use. JAMA Internal Medicine, 179(12), 1658. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.4101
The Neuro. (2020, September 28). Remote assessment of brain health during a pandemic. https://www.mcgill.ca/neuro/article/research-patient-care/remote-assessment-brain-health-during-pandemic