WCM-Q researchers investigates usage of telehealth for Elderly during Covid-19 epidemic

  • 10 months   ago
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) have reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of using telehealth approaches to provide care to the elderly during the ongoing pandemic conditions. 
The study, that was organised by researchers of the Institute for Population Health (IPH) at WCM-Q, determined that telehealth can deliver safe and effective means to provide intense care for the older people during the pandemic and even post-pandemic. However, the effectiveness of telehealth approaches is reliant upon good communications infrastructure that needs a lot of significant investment by the government and industry, which means that telehealth services are generally restricted in both scope and quality in low and low-middle income countries. Furthermore, appropriate medical aids from physicians, caregivers and technologists are vital in order for telehealth to work for the elderly. 
Providing adequate care has been severely decreased for older people in countries all over the world during the pandemic due to lockdown limitations, unwillingness to visit healthcare facilities for fear of the virus, and healthcare facilities being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. The research pointed out that, telehealth rapidly emerged as a useful and cost-effective means to deliver care to older people. However, elderly people often have complex needs that are challenging to meet using only telehealth approaches. Older people may also struggle to use modern telecommunication devices, have physiological or cognitive difficulties that make telehealth approaches problematic, and may be subject to provision of substandard telehealth services in residential care homes. 
The research, which is titled as ‘Telehealth Use in Geriatrics Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Scoping Review and Evidence Synthesis’, has been published in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The authors of this research based study are Dr. Sathyanarayanan Doraiswamy, Assistant Director of the IPH, Anupama Jithesh, Projects Coordinator, Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, Vice Dean for Student Affairs-Admissions, Population Health, and Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Amit Abraham, Instructor of Population Health Sciences/Projects Specialist and, Dr. Sohaila Cheema, Assistant Dean for the IPH. The researchers analysed and found that 79 scientific articles published between 1 January and 20 August 2020, including a number of studies listed in the World Health Organization’s global COVID-19 research database. 
The researchers came to a conclusion that telehealth has been of an important usage in delivering care to older people during the Covid-19 pandemic and that these approaches hold great promise for the future. But they warned that national governments must provide significant investment in telehealth services to make sure that fair access is provided for all older people, and that sufficient training is mandatory for all the caretakers, physicians, other healthcare professionals and technologists to obtain the derived adroitness in order to provide sufficient help and aid to the elderly ones and make them involve effectively with telehealth approaches.