Tele-health-care in the elderly living in nursing home: the first Sicilian multimodal approach.

Aging clinical and experimental research

PubMedID: 26420423

De Luca R, Bramanti A, De Cola MC, Trifiletti A, Tomasello P, Torrisi M, Reitano S, Leo A, Bramanti P, Calabrò RS. Tele-health-care in the elderly living in nursing home: the first Sicilian multimodal approach. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2016;.
BACKGROUND
The continued aging of the population is affecting the health of the industrialized countries, with an increasing burden for the healthcare system. Thus, during the last decade, we assisted to relevant progress in the medical treatment and rehabilitation techniques and devices, including the development of telemedicine for geriatric care.

AIM
To demonstrate the effectiveness of a novel tele-health-care model allowing a better management of elderly living in nursing homes.

METHODS
Fifty-nine elderly patients (19 males and 40 females; mean age 79.1 (±9.2), were randomly divided into two groups: the experimental group that performed a proper telemonitoring with a multimodal approach (including monitoring of the vital signs and neurological/psychological counseling), and the control group, which underwent standard in-home nursing care. Neurobehavioral symptoms and quality of life were assessed in both the groups at baseline, and after the telecare protocol's end.

RESULTS
The experimental group had a statistically significant reduction in Geriatric Depression Scale (p < 0.01) and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (p < 0.05) scores, and an improvement in their quality of life. Moreover, mean blood pressure and heart rate were lower in the experimental than in the control group (p < 0.05), and admission to health care services was higher in the control than in the experimental group (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS
Telemedicine can be considered as an important tool in improving health and quality of life in the elderly living in nursing homes, and potentially reducing healthcare service access, hospitalization, and costs.