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Visiting Health and Supportive Services Offers Telehealth in the Home

Published February 9. 2016

 Hunterdon Regional Community Health’s Visiting Health and Supportive Services is now offering patients an innovative approach to providing better care through a home monitoring system called Telehealth. 


 Last summer, after Ms. Peters had heart surgery and her daughter found the Telehealth program and thought the monitoring would be great for her mom.   At 10:15 each morning, Grace Peters, 97 of Readington Township wakes up and logs on to her Telehealth monitoring tablet to have her vitals taken. She first takes her blood pressure, next she carefully checks her pulse and oxygen levels and then steps on a scale to get a record of her weight.  Once the monitor logs in her vitals, it will be reviewed by a nurse at Visiting Health and Supportive Service.     


 According to Cathleen Siessel, RN, BC, Director, Visiting Health and Supportive Services, “The Telehealth monitoring system gives patients and their loved ones the comfort that their health is being monitored by a registered nurse.  It is ideal for patients with chronic illness, unstable conditions and with congestive heart failure.  The monitor has helped to reduce repeat hospitalizations and helps to instill a sense of confidence and control in patients who utilize the system.”


 To be monitored by Telehealth a patient must be able to, step on and off a scale, attach a blood pressure cuff, and push a button. Some patients are able to perform these tasks alone while others have a caregiver to assist them.  The Telehealth system may ask the patient questions such as, “Are you experiencing more difficulty breathing today then a normal day?” or “Are your ankles more swollen today than a normal day?”   These questions are tailored to each patient based on their diagnosis and clinical circumstance. Readings are then transmitted to a central station, which is monitored daily by a registered nurse.  When a reading falls outside the patient’s specific parameters, an alert is generated.  “Abnormal weight gain, serious fluctuations in blood pressure, heart rate or oxygen levels are warning signs of a problem, and a nurse will call the patient and arrange and alert the patient’s physician. The physician may then modify the patient’s treatment, as needed to prevent hospitalization,” explained Ms. Siessel.


 In addition to the monitoring, patients receive education in managing their disease process, which includes diet information, medications and early warning signs to look for if they are experiencing a problem.  

Telehealth can be utilized to produce a patient’s clinical picture and Visiting Health and Supportive Services works closely with the patient’s physician. A report can be sent to the Physician’s office prior to the Patient’s next visit for evaluation.


 Visiting Health and Supportive Services received funding support to launch the Telehealth program through a $15,000 grant from the Lowell Foundation and a $10,000 Community Health grant from CVS.


 For more information regarding Visiting Health and Supportive Service’s Telehealth program, contact 908-788-6138.




Caption: “I am very happy with the Telehealth monitoring because I know someone is looking out for me each day. In fact, I even took it with me on vacation to North Carolina”, said Ms. Peters. Pictured: Ms. Peters checks her blood pressure with her Telehealth unit.