According to the former CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden, a coronavirus pandemic is inevitable. Drawing from CDC experts that have done extensive planning for an influenza pandemic, he goes on to identify eight things that we must do to prepare as we move from the initiation phase to the acceleration phase of the pandemic. Two things Dr. Frieden recommends include protecting health services and supporting social needs. [i] Leveraging telehealth tools will be a vital component to accomplishing these objectives during a coronavirus pandemic.
While supporting people during a pandemic is not something I have first-hand experience with, I do have previous professional experience as an ICU nurse. During that time, I cared for many patients that were on strict isolation protocol. I observed patients spending hours without communications with another caring human being. The only contact the isolated patient had was with medical personnel who entered only when necessary. Emotional support was limited at a time when it was most needed, and as a result I witnessed these patients suffering more than was necessary.
While I am not suggesting as healthcare providers during a coronavirus pandemic that we will all be dealing with patients in ICU, I am suggesting that we might see similar isolation and emotional issues on a much larger scale. People will likely face times of limited mobility and/or imposed isolation for their protection and safety, and as healthcare providers we need to be prepared to support our communities even if we are required to limit our travels and onsite visits. Telehealth tools provide the opportunity to successfully do this, but this will only work if you begin to plan and prepare your clients for telehealth now.
With an inevitable coronavirus pandemic on the horizon, now is the time to act. If you do not already have a telehealth tool to leverage, VTConnect offers a simple, secure, and affordable solution that you can set-up in just minutes so you will be ready to successfully connect and support clients from a distance. Prepare now and you will have the opportunity to be part of the solution for your clients and your community!
- Martha H. Ireland PhD, RN, CS, CEDS
Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder of VTConnect
[i] Frieden, D. T. (2020, 02 25). Former CDC director: A coronavirus pandemic is inevitable. What now? Retrieved from CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/25/health/coronavirus-pandemic-frieden/index.html