Remote home care promotes the independent lives of older people

26.5.2023 6.20Updated: 26.5.2023 7.01
 A person wearing headphones sitting at a computer.

Remote home care supports older people's living at home and independent living and encourages them to use their own resources. Remote home care refers to a service in which a home visit is carried out via a video connection. Remote home care is already implemented almost everywhere in the Western Uusimaa wellbeing services county. 

In the home care of the Western Uusimaa wellbeing services county, at the office of Practical Nurse Maija Myllykangas in Vihti, remote home care has been implemented for nearly two years.

According to Myllykangas, remote home care clients are often elderly people who need guidance in taking medicines and eating at home and monitoring in addition to the nurses' physical visits. 

“We work on morning and evening shifts. There are thirty remote contacts during the shift, and on average one ‘visit’ lasts ten minutes.”  

A computer connection to a nurse provides help and security

In practice, remote home care works in such a way that the remote care client receives a tablet computer at home to which the remote nurse working at the home care office contacts using the VideoVisit application.  

 “Customers have consented to the opening of a remote connection automatically, which makes it easier for the customer to participate. Technical guidance on the use of the device is provided to the customer, family member and home care workers.”

According to Myllykangas, in remote home care, the customer receives instructions which enable them to have positive experiences of coping at home.  

“The customer is guided, for example, in heating their food in the microwave, to take medicine that has been previously dispensed for the customer, or to measure their blood sugar levels. Many customers now have an automatic medicine dispenser at home. We monitor the timely taking of the medicine and compile statistics on the blood sugar values measured by the customer themselves.”  

An important part of a remote nurse's work is checking the client's condition.  

“A remote nurse very quickly learns to spot any abnormalities in the customer’s condition, even via a video connection. Of course, we cannot see everything, but if we have any doubts, we will send a notification to a mobile nurse who will check the customer's situation. Sometimes we need to call an ambulance”, Myllykangas says. 

Human kindness is transmitted via the screen

Myllykangas has noticed that some customers or their family members have initially had doubts about remote care. The doubts have, however, usually proved unnecessary.   

“In most cases, when the customer has become acquainted with the service and the tablet computer, both the customer and their family have noticed that the service is smooth. At the same time, they have found that chatting with a nurse through a remote connection has gradually become more natural and confidential.”   

You can apply to become a client of remote home care through the Senior Information Centre or home care. Myllykangas sees remote care as beneficial for both customers and home care workers.    

“Remote home care reduces the need for physical home visits to nurses working in the field and thus contributes to the lack of resources for nurses. The feedback from customers is that they find remote access very necessary when they are allowed to talk to the nurse and feel that they are listened to. It is essential to listen and give the customer the chance to speak.”

The wellbeing services county of Länsi-Uusimaa is preparing new technology solutions to support living at home that can serve residents more diversely in the future.   

For example, a pilot project for remote day activities was launched in the Vihti and Karkkila areas in February, in which Myllykangas and three other remote nurses have participated in leading remote groups.   

“Technology and remote connections offer new opportunities for services for older people without the loss of human connection from nursing care”, she says.