Verizon Foundation officials believe the therapy-through-
“We can do a lot to take care of a patient physically, but we haven’t been able to address the mental health issues that are so prevalent,” said Karen Thomas, President of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions. “People get very cut off from the rest of the world when they are at home recovering. Often they are depressed and don’t care as much about taking care of themselves.”
Advanced TeleHealth Solutions is teaming up with Burrell Behavioral Health, a community mental health center with experience in providing telecounseling to seniors and home-bound patients. Oxford HealthCare will refer patients who are receiving home health care services, and Burrell’s therapists will be responsible for providing mental health treatment. All of the patients will be monitored by chronic care certified clinicians at Advanced TeleHealth Solutions, who use Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) to manage chronic diseases, such as COPD, chronic heart failure, hypertension and diabetes.
Seniors or home-bound patients receiving monitoring services will speak every week to mental health professionals via laptop computers or tablets equipped with Verizon wireless cards. Most patients are counseled over eight hour-long sessions, but the sessions could be longer or shorter, Thomas said.
Patients in the Verizon-funded trial will benefit from lessons learned by Burrell’s therapists who have been providing telecounseling to home-bound seniors since July. Therapists streamlined the technology because some of their patients had never used a computer. Patients in the trial will have to take only two steps – turn the computer on and click on an icon - to start their counseling sessions. Therapists also have adapted, Thomas said. They’ve had to remember to exaggerate their facial expressions, inflections and tone of voice.
“We know that 60 to 80 percent of communication is non-verbal, so the therapists have had to adapt to that and ask more open-ended questions when they aren’t getting the information they need,” she said.
Thomas said she’s heard from therapists that the response from patients has been encouraging:
The trial also holds promise for the mental health community because it is bringing mental health services to seniors who can’t leave their homes or don’t know where to go for help, Thomas said. “This is a serious issue for our country: Often highly treatable mental health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders or early stage dementia are not properly diagnosed and they exacerbate co-occurring medical problems.”
About Advanced TeleHealth Solutions
Advanced TeleHealth Solutions' turnkey scalable remote monitoring system removes traditional barriers to health care access – such as geography, mobility, and time constraints – while enabling organizations to take control of the health of their employees, clients, and/or patients.
Founded by Karen Thomas, President of Oxford HealthCare, an affiliate of Cox Health, Advanced Telehealth Solutions leads the way in providing telemonitoring and ehealth solutions for businesses, hospitals, disease management organizations, and managed care companies – customizing and coordinating the right system for each organization without the cost of creating a new system, adding resources, or having start-up time involved.
For more information, please visit http://www.Advanced-