New virtual tool strengthens connection between care teams and North Island clients receiving end-of-life care

Island Health’s Lara Renehan and Matthew Martin are helping palliative clients in the North Island use simple tablets to provide daily health updates to care teams from the comfort of their own homes.

North Island residents who are receiving palliative support at home now have access to an easy-to-use tablet to help them easily and safely share information with their care team between regular appointments.

“By providing ‘virtual’ palliative care for patients and their families we’re opening another channel of communication for families. I hope this connection means a more personal service for people nearing the end of their life,” said Claire Trevena, MLA for North Island.

Island Health launched the Virtual Palliative Supportive Care initiative at the beginning of February with two clients in the Mount Waddington area. They and other clients who choose to participate in the program receive a simple tablet computer and instructions on how to complete daily health reports that are viewed by care team members, who can decide if follow-up is needed before the client’s next regular visit or phone call.

“This tool will add to the ways that we stay connected with clients and families, helping us to further support them at home,” said Lara Renehan, clinical leader for this initiative in Mount Waddington. “It is a simple way to get a snapshot of what is happening for clients in real time, and as clinicians we can utilize this data to inform our assessments and deepen our connections with clients and families.”

Virtual reports do not replace or reduce face-to-face visits between clients and care team members, said Matt Martin, Community Health Services team lead in Mount Waddington. “This is another tool in the toolkit that can help us identify issues and anticipate peoples’ needs sooner.

“I believe it will empower clients and their families to communicate on their own terms, and enable our team to have a deeper understanding of the day-to-day experience of our palliative clients.”

Remote and virtual care services such as Telehealth, Home Health Monitoring and Virtual Palliative Supportive Care help patients and clients access care and empower them to manage their own health. While the Virtual Palliative Supportive Care initiative is currently only available in the Mount Waddington area, it will be offered in other areas of Island Health in the future.

For more information about Island Health’s remote and virtual care services visit  www.islandhealth.ca/our-services/remote-virtual-care-telehealth.

 

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