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TECHNOLOGY AND SPECIALIST CARE FOR OLDER PATIENTS IN THE POST COVID-19 ERA

K. Dervan, G. Mulkerrin, T. McDonnell, E.C. Mulkerrin

J Aging Res & Lifestyle 2020;9:35-39

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a major challenge to delivering multi-disciplinary complex care for older patients. Modern technology can assist in providing such care. This article highlights efforts to bridge the "digital divide" between generations and addresses the beneficial impact telemedicine has on older people’s lifestyles. Novel triage models for accessing emergency care which were successful for patients of all age groups including those over 65 years are described. Moreover, innovative successful approaches to the outpatient assessment of older patients with complex chronic health conditions using telemedicine are highlighted. Furthermore, innovative solutions piloted in remote areas of Australia offer promise for telemedicine-lead remote assessment of older patients, and the results are encouraging compared to in-person consultations. The experience with a General Practitioner (GP)/specialist online real-time interaction model for remote management of HF in mainly older people has also been encouraging. The use of telemedicine in falls prevention has produced impressive results in high-risk older patients albeit with some ambivalence from older participants. Virtual reality rehabilitation programmes have produced better physical outcomes than traditional rehabilitation programmes. Furthermore, telerehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and HF have shown to be both feasible and effective. To maximise their benefits in the difficult post-COVID-19 period, technologies must be embraced by both physicians and older patients. Online community care platforms discussed have demonstrated a positive, tangible impact on the lifestyle of the older generation. Furthermore, educational guidelines can assist in implementing the fundamentals of telemedicine, but for the widespread successful and safe integration of these services, adoption of regulatory frameworks with a focus on ethical issues of telehealth is imperative.

CITATION:
K. Dervan ; G. Mulkerrin ; T. McDonnell ; E.C. Mulkerrin (2020): Technology and specialist care for older patients in the post COVID-19 era. The Journal of Aging and Lifestyle (JARLife). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jarlife.2020.8

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