Remote care complements home care visits of the city of Oulu and enables wider and more diverse services. The city’s remote home care has been ongoing since June 2019 via a secure video connection. The remote home care clientele receive a tablet to their home, and the connection starts when the caregiver calls.
The aim of home care of the city of Oulu was to find a solution for everyday life that would replace some of the physical home care visits. After introducing the VideoVisit® Home Virtual Care Service, physical home care visits have been able to target those clients who need services and the caregiver’s help at home. Remote caregivers became responsible for visits that do not require physical contact.
Sirpa Saarela, the city’s coordinator for the development of welfare services, states that examples of implementing remote home care are found in other cities. The Virtual Home Care service produced by VideoVisit Oy, or more familiarly called the video phone call service, is currently being utilized in Soite, Kuusamo, Tampere, Turku, Eksote and PHHYKY. According to Jarkko Kukkonen, the account manager of VideoVisit, remote home care visits have been on the rise for several years. However, in the spring of 2020, the number of users increased significantly due to the situation caused by the coronavirus. “All signs indicate that remote services are here to stay, including remote home care provided by the municipality”, Jarkko summarizes.
Remote home care is well suited for monitoring the client’s daily activities. Caregivers remind clients, for example, to take medication and eat. In addition, blood glucose measurements and insulin injections are monitored through video connection. During the remote visit, there also is some time for catching up on daily events.
“The client does all the daily chores at home, and the caregiver guides them. This type of home care maintains their ability to function better because the caregiver does not do things for the client”, states Sirpa Saarela when describing the rehabilitative feature of remote home care.
Monthly goal of 3000 virtual visits about to be exceeded
The remote home care of the city of Oulu is exceeding its monthly goals. The targets were already achieved at the end of 2019. Last December, as many as 1700 remote home care visits were made in Oulu. Sirpa Saarela says that this year’s goal is to make 3000 remote home care visits each month. “Now we have almost reached this goal although there is still some time left in May”, Saarela continues.
Positive client feedback
According to Sirpa Saarela, remote home care has started off very well, and according to the feedback received from the clients, remote care is perceived as even more pleasant than the traditional home care. “The caregiver visits the client via video connection and reminds them about things that are important in their daily lives. Clients feel that this circumstance is more comfortable than a situation when a stranger physically arrives at their home”, she clarifies.
Anne Terho, who works as a nurse, also agrees. She feels that VideoVisit® Home service calms the client’s life at home. “It means that there are not people coming and going all the time, and sometimes out of four visits, three visitors are different caregivers”, she continues. Anne delivers the devices to the clients and instructs them how to use the tablet. On the first visit, a test call is made in order to ensure that the connection works. According to Anne, the first reaction has mostly been positive, and it has been nice to deliver devices to clients. “They are happy that they do not need to know how to use the device. The most important thing is that the connection is activated by the caregiver”, states Anne. She is delighted to notice that even those clients who had their doubts in the beginning have started to enjoy video calls with their caregivers.
Currently, remote home care of the city of Oulu has about 130 to 140 clients. All of the city’s remote home care client visits are made centrally from the same location: Home Living Support Centre (Kotona asumisen tuen keskus, Kotas). Sirpa Saarela says that new home care clients are generally referred to a 2 to 8 week rehabilitation period before they become actual clients of home care. During the rehabilitation period, it is identified which clients need physical visits and which are suitable for remote home care. Sometimes physical visits turn into remote visits after the rehabilitation period. You can also become a remote home care client without the rehabilitation period depending on your needs for the service.
Benefits of VideoVisit® Home Virtual Care Service
With VideoVisit® Home Virtual Care Service it is possible to serve a wider client base centrally as distance no longer matters. “When the connection ends the caregiver can immediately call the next client regardless of where in the city of Oulu the client lives”, says Saarela. The client fee for remote home care is half the price than what it is for traditional home care.
The VideoVisit® Home Virtual Care Service is safe and easy to use by both clients and their relatives. The VideoVisit® Home service includes a feature through which the elderly people’s relatives can stay connected with their loved ones. Sirpa encourages the relatives of remote home care clients to use the feature.
Certainly, it is a completely different thing when you can see your loved one on a video than just hearing their voice on the phone and trying to ensure their well-being
Last year, VideoVisit Oy organized a series of Road-show events in which panel discussions were participated by various important decision-makers from the healthcare and social welfare (SOTE) field, doctors and innovators. The discussions focused on, for example, the potential of digital solutions. According to Jarkko Kukkonen, getting older today no longer means that when it becomes difficult to move, you have to stay at home alone. “The idea that VideoVisit ® Home type of remote care solutions make it possible to be socially active, participate in various events, talk to new people, and meet and make new friends at an older age is heart-warming”, states Kukkonen.
CEO, VideoVisit Oy