Technology transforming home care assessments

Digital technology is transforming the way nurses work in regional areas.

Baptcare Home Help customers within the Hume/Loddon region can now access cognitive assessments at home using Skype technology. In the past regional customers with cognitive impairment, had a significant challenge in accessing these assessments due to living in remote regional areas where the cost to get a registered nurse out to complete the assessment was high and involved a significant waiting time which meant they were missing out on valuable funding.

In the past, a cognitive assessment would see a registered nurse, often based in Melbourne, travel to a customer’s home in regional Victoria where they would be met by a local Baptcare Care Consultant. Registered Nurse, Susan from Baptcare’s Brunswick office in Melbourne noted that most of the day was spent travelling, “Before this technology was being used cognitive assessments were hard to set up. We were often doing only two and a half hours of efficient work in an eight-hour day due to the amount of travelling involved”.

Deb, a Baptcare Care Consultant within the Hume/Loddon area says the feedback she has received so far from the customers who have worked with this new technology has been positive.

“Customers are seeing great results, with the only difference to the assessment being that a registered nurse now speaks to them via a video link using their computer screen set up in their lounge room as compared to face-to-face. We, as Care Consultants are still sitting there in person with the customers in their home to help them dial into the Skype meeting and help with any other aspects of the assessment,” said Deb.

“Customers have said that they feel more at ease without having a stranger in their home and have really embraced trying something different and new,” added Deb.

Susan went on to say that this style of assessment has given nurses a real sense of achievement and the team are able to coordinate appointment times to help ensure the assessment is conducted at a time that most accurately reflects the customer’s cognitive function.

“We are the first Home Care Package and nursing provider to offer this technology and are excited by how receptive customers have been. We feel like we are making a real difference” said Susan.

This initiative is currently still in trial phase with future trials planned for the Barwon and Gippsland area and within South East Victoria.