PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 senior care facility has launched a program that enables residents to visit their doctors without leaving the nursing home.
Green Acres Nursing Home in Paragould has partnered with integrateMD (iMD) to provide video conference doctor appointments for nursing home residents.
Eighty-five-year-old Elwanda Melton met with her primary care physician via video conference for the first time Thursday. "I enjoyed doing the visit with Dr. (Barry) Hendrix," she said.
"This is a pilot program that was presented by the administration at Green Acres to allow for better communication between the physicians with residents and the staff at the nursing home," said Dr. Hendrix.
Green Acres administrator Marlisa Thompson said the partnership with Memphis-based iMD is the first in the state of Arkansas.
The company provides nursing homes with the needed equipment and technical support to set up remote appointments for patients.
"It's just safer, easier," Thompson said. "We did our first appointment two weeks ago today."
Thompson said "telemedicine" takes 10 to 15 minutes, which cuts back on the interruptions sometimes caused by her residents' regular trips to doctors.
"The appointments interrupt meal times, medication times, different things like that. It's just much quicker and more efficient. The resident can be in their room. They can be anywhere in the facility that we wheel the cart to."
The Green Acres staff also wants to decrease hospital re-admissions.
"We don't have physicians on staff in the facility. We have nurses. The nurses can only operate by what a physician tells them to do," Thompson said.
Five of the seven doctors who work with Green Acres meet with patients via video conferences.
The Green Acres Nursing Home staff plans to work with St. Bernard's to implement remote psychiatric and counseling sessions with the residents.