Going to the doctor is a task that’s a pain when you’re feeling well – and can be downright miserable if you’re under the weather. The ironic part is that the place you have to go to get what you need to feel better is probably the germiest place you could think to visit. That’s a scary thought, especially now as people continue to be wary of contracting COVID-19.
“No one wants to run the risk of getting sick by going to the doctor’s office, but what’s a senior to do if he or she needs to visit with a physician or get medication refilled?” asks Erica Zartler, Lifestyle Specialist at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights. “These days, you’re likely to be offered the chance to virtually visit your doctor via a telemedicine visit – and it may just reinvent medicine and doctor’s visits as we know it.”
A telemedicine visit takes place through a phone call or a video chat. Generally, the patient downloads an app and then “meets” with their physician at an appointed time. No driving to the office, no waiting in an exam room as the doctor finishes up with a patient ... all you need is an internet connection and a phone, tablet or computer.
“Research has shown that telemedicine can be just as good, and sometimes more effective, than going to see the doctor in person,” says Erica. Which is great news, because the use of telemedicine visits is rising – particularly during this pandemic. According to a survey by The University of Chicago, more than 20% of people over 70 have used this type of technology to connect with their doctors.
“I fully expect that telemedicine is here to stay, even when the pandemic lessens,” says Erica. “While some medical needs will require an in-person visit, there are many benefits for seniors to use this type of technology for routine check-ups or simple issues like medication refills.”
Benefits of Telemedicine Visits
No need to travel. Sometimes the hardest part of going to see the doctor is actually getting there. Driving, parking, traveling to and from ... this can be difficult for seniors who may not have good transportation options or can’t drive themselves. With a telemedicine visit, the only travel time is to your couch or computer desk.
Quicker and easier scheduling options. It’s frustrating when you need to see a doctor but they aren’t available until the following week or later. With telemedicine, patients have the opportunity to see their doctor more quickly but also get on-demand treatment from doctors across the country. Some insurance providers will pay for this type of care, and it can be a great option if you’re in need of an antibiotic or a medication refill and your regular doctor is out of town.
Easier access to specialists. For seniors who don’t live in big, metropolitan areas, getting to a specialist can mean a long drive. Telemedicine takes the distance out of the equation and allows you and your GP to connect with specialists who are the best in the business, not simply the closest. This increases the quality of your healthcare instantly with minimal hassle.
Less chance of catching something from the waiting room. Perhaps most importantly for seniors these days, telemedicine visits mean that you won’t have to put yourself and your health at risk. Instead of sitting in a crowded waiting room, you can stay home and get the care you need – safely.
How to Ensure a Successful Telemedicine Visit
Be prepared. Take stock of your current symptoms and questions you have for the doctor. Be sure to have your list of medications handy, too – your doctor should have them on hand, but it’s always good to double-check. It’s a good idea to write things down, just so you can refer to notes during and after the visit.
Have the right equipment. Telemedicine visits are usually best performed on a tablet like an iPad or a smartphone. (Computers can work, too, as long as they are equipped with a webcam and a decent processor.) If you don’t have one of these devices, borrow one from a friend or family member. You’ll also want to have a good, strong Internet connection so you don’t cut out unexpectedly during the visit.
Take your vitals. What normally happens in a doctor’s visit? Before you even see the doctor, you’re weighed, have your blood pressure and pulse taken and even had your temperature checked. These are all things you can easily do at home. Having that information ready for your doctor will ensure he or she has the most up-to-date information possible.
Find a quiet place to hold your telemedicine visit. You don’t have to break out the professional lighting, but be sure that you are in a quiet place where the lighting is good (you want to make sure that the doctor can do a complete assessment easily). Being in a quiet place will allow you to more easily focus on what’s going on, with few distractions.
Consider having a family member or friend there. Depending on your health and what you’re calling about, you may want to have someone with you as an extra pair of ears, just as you might at an in-person doctor’s visit. Having someone else there to take notes and hear what the doctor is saying can help avoid confusion and improve your follow-up.
“The idea of seeing a doctor virtually may seem like something out of Star Trek, but it’s becoming more commonplace – and more people are seeing the benefits,” says Erica. “At Aspired Living of Prospect Heights, we are incredibly focused on the health and safety of our residents. We make it easy for telemed visits to occur at our community, helping our residents get the healthcare they need without having to leave home.”
For more information about telemed visits, or to learn how we help our residents Live Well. Age Well. Be Well! every day, contact us at 224-300-4760.
Live Well. Age Well. Be Well at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights
Offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day® Memory Support, Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.
Aspired Living of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living®.
Managed by Pathway to Living, an innovator in senior living, Aspired Living of Prospect Heights offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand-new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.
For more information, please call Erica or Ellen, Lifestyle Specialists, at 224-300-4760.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes, and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.