Tag Archives: Older Adults

Telemedicine: Elderly Are Most Satisfied Study Finds

“Our study showed that the highest level of patient satisfaction within telemedicine visits was actually among patients within the 65 to 79-year-old age range—which has been an age group often seen as resistant to this mode of care,” says Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and senior author. “These findings show how important it is that health care organizations don’t exclusively target telemedicine to their younger, more tech-savvy patients.”

Mayo Clinic, November 3, 2022 – In one of the largest studies to date of its kind, Mayo Clinic researchers found patient satisfaction ratings to be equivalent for video telemedicine visits and in-person clinic visits. These findings highlight the potential for the use of telemedicine across a variety of patient populations.

The study, published in the Patient Experience Journal, evaluated patient satisfaction scores from over 300,000 patients treated either in-person or via video telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While researchers found that patient satisfaction ratings were overall equivalent across the two modes of care, they did observe several interesting trends within certain age groups, genders, and races, which countered historical perceptions of telemedicine and represent opportunities for future study.

Read more

Regenerative Medicine: How It Slows Down Aging

“Diverse aging populations, vulnerable to chronic disease, are at the cusp of a promising future. Indeed, growing regenerative options offer opportunities to boost innate healing, and address aging-associated decline. The outlook for an extended well-being strives to achieve health for all,”

Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist

Regenerative medicine could slow the clock on degenerative diseases that often ravage the golden years, a Mayo Clinic study finds. Life span has nearly doubled since the 1950s, but health span — the number of disease-free years — has not kept pace. According to a paper published in NPJ Regenerative Medicine., people are generally living longer, but the last decade of life is often racked with chronic, age-related diseases that diminish quality of life. These final years come with a great cost burden to society.

Researchers contend that new solutions for increasing health span lie at the intersection of regenerative medicine research, anti-senescent investigation, clinical care and societal supports. A regenerative approach offers hope of extending the longevity of good health, so a person’s final years can be lived to the fullest.

Read more

Osteoarthritis: Increased Walking Lowers Knee Pain

People with knee osteoarthritis may reduce their risk of knee pain by walking more, according to a study published online June 8, 2022, by Arthritis & Rheumatology.

photo of three mature adults walking for fitness

Researchers looked at the walking habits of more than 1,200 people with knee osteoarthritis (average age 63, 45% men). They were asked how often they walked for exercise since age 50 and whether they had frequent knee pain. X-rays were done to assess structural knee damage.

The investigators first looked at participants who did not report regular knee pain. They found that among this group, those who walked for exercise were less likely to later develop knee pain (26%) at the follow-up eight years later compared with those who did not walk for exercise (37%).

Read more

Infographics: Chronic Wounds In Older Adults

  • Chronic wounds are common, costly, and are more likely to affect older adults.
  • Venous ulcers, neuropathic ulcers, ischemic ulcers, and pressure injuries each necessitate unique prevention and treatment strategies.
  • With the evidence and pragmatic guidance provided herein, providers will have the working knowledge to successfully manage chronic wounds.

Appropriate prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic wounds is important for providers across specialties. Wounds affect patients in all care settings and result in significant cost and morbidity. The burden of this condition falls largely on older adults, for whom the incidence of chronic wounds far exceeds that of younger populations.

 Medicare costs for wound care in 2014 were estimated at greater than $28 billion, and the prevalence for most wound types was greatest in patients aged 75 or older.

 Venous ulcers are the most common lower extremity wound type, comprising 45% to 60% of all wounds, followed by neuropathic ulcers (15% to 25%), ischemic ulcers (10% to 20%), and mixed ulcers (10% to 15%).

 Fortunately, new wound-treatment modalities continue to emerge. This review summarizes the latest information regarding prevention, identification, classification, and treatment of chronic wounds. Guidance on management of major wound types and pearls regarding dressing selection are provided.

‘HARVARD MEDICINE’: THE AGING ISSUE – AUTUMN 2021

HEALTHCARE: OLDER ADULTS PREFER CONVENIENCE OVER REPUTATION IN PHYSICIANS

A new study by a team from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation shows that adults over age 50 place more importance on convenience-related factors, rather than reputation, when choosing a doctor.

The study, based on data from IHPI’s National Poll on Healthy Aging supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, still shows that online ratings and reviews of physicians play an important role, and should receive attention from providers and policymakers.

Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren, a U-M primary care physician and lead author of the study, describes the findings.

POST COVID: “THE FUTURE OF ELDERLY CARE’ (VIDEO)

Across the rich world around half of covid-19 deaths have been in care homes. Countries need to radically rethink how they care for their elderly—and some innovative solutions are on offer.

COMMENTARY:

This video has a lot of information that would be of help to anyone who has a spouse or parent who is aging, especially if their frailty includes dementia. There were several good, general points.

As hard as it is to get old, it is even harder to be a caretaker of someone whose aging includes memory loss. Hired caretakers burn out at a high rate. The video highlighted Indonesia as a location that is compassionate, and gives quality care at about half the cost in developed countries.

The percentage of the elderly population needing care may well be 50% in 2050. I would not have guessed it, but the video asserts that 50% of individuals over 65 years of age need some help.

It is much better to stay at home, and medical sensor technology is making this increasingly possible. AI would be able to detect changes in a person’s routine that could be flagged.

Of course, it is much better to stay healthy longer. My posting “growing old” addresses this.

–Dr. C.

TELEHEALTH: ‘ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES’ (HARVARD)

Telehealth is defined as the delivery of health care services at a distance through the use of technology. It can include everything from conducting medical visits over the computer, to monitoring patients’ vital signs remotely. Its definition is broader than that of telemedicine, which only includes the remote delivery of health care.

Telehealth can be delivered in one of three ways:

  • Synchronous—when the doctor communicates with the patient in real time via computer or telephone
  • Asynchronous—when data, images, or messages are recorded to share with the doctor later
  • Remote patient monitoring—when measurements such as weight or blood pressure are sent to the health care provider

What you can do with telehealth

All of the following activities and services are possible with the help of telehealth:

  • Recording measurements like your weight, food intake, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels either manually, or through a wearable device, and sending them to your doctor.
  • Having a virtual visit with your doctor or a nurse over your computer or smartphone.
  • Using an online portal to check your test results, request prescription refills, send your doctor a message, or schedule an appointment.
  • Sharing information such as your test results, diagnoses, medications, and drug allergies with all of the providers you see.
  • Coordinating care between your primary care provider and any specialists you visit—including the sharing of exam notes and test results between medical offices in different locations.
  • Getting email or text reminders when you’re due for mammograms, colonoscopies, and other screenings, or routine vaccinations.
  • Monitoring older adults at home to make sure they are eating, sleeping, and taking their medications on schedule.

Downsides to telehealth

Telehealth offers a convenient and cost-effective way to see your doctor without having to leave your home, but it does have a few downsides.

  • It isn’t possible to do every type of visit remotely. You still have to go into the office for things like imaging tests and blood work, as well as for diagnoses that require a more hands-on approach.
  • The security of personal health data transmitted electronically is a concern.
  • While insurance companies are increasingly covering the cost of telehealth visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, some services may not be fully covered, leading to out-of-pocket costs.

Read more