It’s fair to say that the family caregivers need as much support as they can, considering the challenges they face. Telehealth services can provide just that, in the right context. It can make several facets of the caregiver’s life easier because the model expands access and lowers barriers to care. Additionally, businesses that offer the service to family caregivers stand to realize several benefits on the other side. Consider the following as your organizations weigh the possibility of offering telehealth:
Improved Access to Care
Caregivers more likely to schedule appointments for supposedly “minor” problems because telemedicine broadens access for them. They may often struggle to find time for appointments otherwise. This naturally means more revenue for facilities. Equating to the major potential for expanded business is some 43.5 million informal caregivers thought to be providing care in the U.S. (a rough average of 870,000 per state, not adjusted for population or other factors).
Let’s say a family caregiver who also works a part-time job has noted a mild, but a persistent cough in their loved one. The effort required to schedule an unplanned doctor’s appointment — taking a mostly immobile, elderly patient to the doctor is a far more time-consuming task than going for oneself — is impossible with their work schedule. They ignore the feelings of guilt and decide to wait the condition out until they’re freed up for an office visit because the cough is nothing bad and treatment with over-the-counter medication has been marginally successful.
In this case, telehealth allows the caregiver to schedule an appointment that matches their needs. A clinician at the telehealth facility, linked to the system they visit, advises the family member to take them to the doctor when they get a free moment, also telling the family member it’s okay to wait until their work schedule clears up, provided the cough doesn’t get worse. This allows the caregiver to carry on with less guilt and worry and gives the system added revenue from the telemedicine visit.