Telehomecare Heart Failure Program
After a heart failure event, many patients have difficulties adjusting to at-home life again. Lifestyle changes can be challenging to make without outside support. Often, patients experience symptoms again and again, causing discomfort and additional trips to the Emergency Department.
The Telehomecare Heart Failure Program helps those who have experienced heart failure self-manage their symptoms better and avoid unnecessary trips to the Emergency Department. At the centre of the program is a tablet device, which connects securely from your home phone line to the clinic at the Health Sciences Centre. Every day, patients use the tablet to take their own vital signs like blood pressure and answer a few questions. A nurse practitioner at the clinic reviews the data for any red flags, helping patients recognize the signs of another event and avoid it before it happens.
What to Expect
Most patients in Telehomecare Heart Failure Program are referred by an Emergency Department doctor, though patients can also be referred by their primary care provider (family doctor, nurse practitioner, etc.) You will be asked to come to the Telehomecare Heart Failure Program at the Health Sciences Centre for at least one appointment. During this appointment, the team will assess your current condition, provide you with some tips on how to self-manage your disease, and teach you how to use the Telehomecare tablet.
Please bring your Health Card to every appointment at the clinic. If you cannot make your appointment, please call the Telehomecare Heart Failure Program at (807) 684-6753.
At home, the procedure varies depending on your personal circumstances. Generally speaking, you will be asked to take your vital signs using the tablet (it will guide you through the process) and answer a few questions about your health, how you’re feeling, etc. This information is sent to the clinic where a nurse practitioner reviews it to ensure your symptoms are well-managed. Should a problem arise, the nurse practitioner or other member of the team will contact you for a phone consultation and to provide support and information, if needed.
The long-term goal of the program is to help you recognize and self-manage your symptoms so that you recognize the warning signs of a possible event before it happens, avoiding unnecessary discomfort and trips to the Emergency Department.
Telehomecare is a secure home monitoring system provided through the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). It can be used to monitor COPD and heart failure patients with recurring symptoms no matter where they live, as long as they have a phone landline (cell phones will not work with the system). The device is easy to use so that patients can take their own vital signs and answer a series of questions personalized to their specific condition. It is an excellent system for distance health in a region like Northwestern Ontario, connecting patients with healthcare professionals for comprehensive care and helping manage your symptoms before it becomes an emergency situation.