Australia's RDNS' first public demonstration in Asia of its seniors-friendly telehealth solution
Apr 12, 2013

Australia’s oldest home nursing service tackles top three elderly healthcare challenges: Bed crunch, medication & manpower
Showcasing for the 1st time in Asia at international forum on business of ageing

12 April 2013 – Australia’s largest not-for-profit home nursing service provider, RDNS (Royal District Nursing Service) will present the first public demonstration in Asia of its seniors-friendly telehealth solution that will potentially enable earlier hospital discharge, prevent medicine mismanagement and maximise nursing resources. The RDNS solution is the principal platform of the organisation’s move into delivering care using high-speed broadband technology, and is designed specifically to help address the challenges associated with caring for an ageing population.

The RDNS seniors-friendly telehealth solution has also been shortlisted as a finalist in the Outstanding ‘ICT’ Innovation awards, one of the four Major Awards in the first Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards 2013 that will be showcased at the opening day of the 4th Ageing Asia Investment Forum in Singapore. 300 international delegates from business, government and community sectors will gather at this event to talk about the business of ageing.

The effectiveness of the solution has been tested over the past 24 months in Australia with a sample size of over 50 clients. This telehealth project, called Healthy, Happy and at Home, has been in operations for the past two years in Australia. The project is being pioneered with the help of the Victorian Government under its Broadband Enabled Innovation Program (BEIP). The objective is to help clients remain in their homes for longer to avoid hospital stays and reduce the overall burden on the health system.
The telehealth development is opening new doors for the delivery of vital home nursing and healthcare. At RDNS’s world-class call centre in Melbourne, a nurse is now able to make a ‘virtual visit’ to a client at home using broadband technology. The solution provides video-based medication management services in real time using high speed internet connections. Client monitoring involves the use of a videoconferencing unit (called Intel Health Guide), which comprises hardware with an integrated video camera, allowing nurses at the RDNS call centre to conduct two-way video calls with clients at the comfort of their home.

It means that RDNS clients – as well as their families and carers – have the peace of mind that RDNS staff can “see” that the correct medication is being taken while also engaging in a professional, reassuring nursing assessment and consultation.

For RDNS client Nancy Latham, who has Alzheimer’s, the system she calls “Pill TV” offers new freedom. “I didn’t like having to wait around for the nurse visits every day. I can get out and about now,” the active 94-year-old says. “I like talking to the nurses by TV and it’s good to know someone is keeping an eye on me when I take my tablets.” “I’m not computer-minded but I think people should try new technology. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

The videoconferencing unit is enabled by a broadband connection, installed in the client’s home under the supervision of an RDNS project team member to ensure that the system is set up properly.

This year RDNS will make nearly two million care and support visits to 45,000 clients who are living at home or in other places of their choosing. Staff will travel 10 million kilometres, equivalent to 13 round trips to the moon.

The ‘Healthy, Happy and at Home’ project is a major and exciting innovation for the participating partners (RDNS, Telstra, Healthe Tech and La Trobe University) and is demonstrating the benefit of broadband-enabled medicines and nursing management to enable ageing-in-place.

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