Project Home - there is no place like home: using telehealth technology to support a proposed restorative care program in the community
Wise, Kathryn Stacey
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A major challenge in today’s current healthcare system is the risk of readmissions by older adults recently discharged from an acute care facility. Current evidence-based literature does not have a single contributor for the reason for the readmission following discharge, but evidence does suggest some strong indicators for risk for readmission back into hospital. The risk for readmission into the hospital following a discharge from acute care increases due to older age, multiple diseases, co-morbidities, and functional limitations (Tinetti et al., 2012; Garcia-Perez et al., 2011). One of the key risks is the fact that an older adult is physically deconditioned while staying in hospital and inadequate transition planning takes place. The older adult is quickly returned to their pre-hospital living environment and expected to resume 100% of daily living activities. Tinetti et al. (2012), suggest that enhancing functional recovery during a period of home care following an acute hospitalization may reduce the risk of readmission to hospital. Telehealth is a service delivery method that is increasingly being used by occupational therapy to reach more clients and to provide greater access and flexibility vii (AOTA, 2013). Telehealth technologies could be utilized by the OTs to help facilitate ongoing communication between the client, caregiver and the OT, as well as other health care providers to provide a cost effective model of care. The creation of a six-week program designed for older adults (over the age of 65) recently discharged from an acute care hospitalization uses telehealth to deliver the OT services but will utilize the support of an in home support worker to help deliver the restorative care program. Project Home is built upon the philosophy of targeting daily living skills that are of importance to the older adult while gradually decreasing the level of support provided to the older adult to maximize their independence.