Even before staying home became the new way to stay healthy, virtual care was making a difference to resident care at Parkridge Centre Special Care Home in Saskatoon.
A remote presence robotic system installed at Parkridge in November 2018 has meant that since that time, residents requiring acute medical care after hours and on weekends did not have to leave the Center to see a physician. When a resident requires medical care, instead of taking them to the emergency room, a nurse can call a physician who is part of a team of eight Critical Care Associates at Saskatoon City Hospital using the system. The robot allows the physician to see and examine the resident, and often prescribe treatment right then and there.
It keeps potentially vulnerable patients out of the acute care setting, and allows for physical distancing, keeping everyone safe from the potential spread of COVID-19.
A patient at Parkridge receiving Virtual Care.
“This virtual care technology gives the physician the confidence to treat the resident at Parkridge, confidence they can’t get from conversations over the phone,” said Dr. Ivar Mendez, who is spearheading virtual care options in Saskatchewan. “This gives the resident immediate treatment and keeps them at Parkridge, instead of being transferred to the emergency room to wait for assessment.”
The high definition camera on the system can zoom in on wounds, providing the physician with the ability to clearly see what needs to be treated. This system also has tools like a stethoscope so the physician can listen to the heart and lungs.
When assessments at Parkridge are done using this system, the number of referrals to the emergency department from the centre decreases by 65 per cent.
“This is a very important advancement,” said Mendez. “It’s better for the residents, and it’s better for the health system because it helps decrease overcrowding in the emergency room and alleviates hospital overcapacity. It also allows the physical distance between resident and physician, keeping everyone safer if the concern is potential COVID-19 symptoms.”
The team of Clinical Care Associates, the dedicated Parkridge nursing staff and nursing leadership provided by Rachel Johnson, Nicole Kindrachuk, Joan Pottinger and Landon Johnson has been crucial for the success of this program, Mendez added.
The nursing team at Parkridge using the remote presence robotics system.