August 21, 2023

Granite VNA Offers Telemonitoring for Patients Receiving Home Care

Granite VNA, New Hampshire’s largest not-for-profit provider of home health care and hospice services, recently introduced a telemonitoring program for people who are receiving skilled nursing care and/or home therapy services from the agency. The program is available to patients who have unstable medical illnesses such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Congested Heart Failure (CHF), and Hypertension. Participants must have access to the internet and are taught to operate the telemonitoring technology, including a tablet, pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff and scale. The program and the equipment are provided at no cost to patients.

Suzanne Olszak, RN, who has more than 30 years of experience in home health care, manages the agency’s telemonitoring program. She provides education and guidance to patients on the technology, the importance of daily monitoring, diet, medications and healthy habits through regular check-in calls. She also monitors patient vital signs data, automatically transmitted to her computer via Bluetooth technology, which allows her to give patients real-time feedback and to notify patients’ physicians and home care team members if concerns arise.

“The telemonitoring program is a wonderful tool to help patients learn to monitor their health by checking their vital signs daily, which is an important habit for people living with chronic illness to develop,” Olszak said. “As they become more attuned to their vitals, they learn to correlate these important markers to how they are feeling. This awareness can help patients communicate more effectively with their care team about their condition.”

Granite VNA currently has up to 50 patients on any given day participating in the telemonitoring program. The goal is to keep patients on the program for 60 days, unless they are discharged from the agency sooner. Each patient is provided with a packet of materials, which includes educational material, worksheets and graphs where they can manually record and track daily vital signs and symptoms.

“I enjoy getting to know our patients and helping them learn to be active participants in their health and wellbeing,” Olszak said.

Prior to joining Granite VNA, Olszak managed similar telemonitoring programs for Lahey Health at Home and Mass General Brigham Homecare, both in Massachusetts.