community grant-making funds support telehealth program
McLaren Northern Michigan’s Telehealth Program makes it possible for patients with complex cardiac issues to receive the support and tools they need to successfully manage their care from home. Cardiac patients use monitoring equipment to transmit health data from their phone to the Telehealth Nursing Team. In the fall of 2016, the Community Foundation’s Community Fund, Charlevoix Enrichment Fund, and East Jordan Enrichment Fund supported the Program with a grant that paid for the monthly service and equipment fee for patients from Charlevoix County.
The Telehealth Program served 396 patients in 2017, including 68 from Charlevoix County. During that period, 86% of patients enrolled in the Telehealth Program managed their symptoms from home and avoided additional hospital stays.
The following is the story of one patient who benefited from the Program, provided to the Community Foundation by McLaren Northern Michigan (the name was changed to maintain confidentiality):
Thomas, a man in his mid-70s, was hospitalized at McLaren Northern Michigan with heart failure. Upon his discharge, a Telehealth Nurse visited Thomas' home to set up his Telehealth monitoring unit and orient him how to use it. He did quite well his first few days, but gained 6 lbs his first weekend at home and was experiencing swelling in his legs. Rapid weight gain and swelling among heart failure patients indicates fluid buildup which can cause pneumonia, shortness of breath and other dangerous symptoms which typically result in hospitalization.
The Telehealth Nurse immediately contacted Thomas' primary care physician who increased the dosage of Thomas' diuretic. After two days, Thomas continued to exhibit symptoms so his Telehealth Nurse arranged a visit with his physician who administered an IV treatment. With his weight stabilized and swelling controlled, Thomas avoided further complications and hospitalization. Thanks to the Telehealth Program, Thomas was able to successfully manage his care from home and avoid further hospitalization.
Learn more about recent grants and scholarships awarded through the Community Foundation.