Telemedicine and Virtual Doctors

Do you remember when doctors were called by patients and they would actually do a home visit? Many years ago doctors were more like a family member, but times have changed.

We are living in a different era, one where a shortage of doctors is a national problem, and one where technology has become a daily helper for almost everybody, even for those who can’t visit the doctor or those who can’t go to an emergency room. Thanks to technology we are going back to the concept of having the doctor at home, but now, virtually.

Telemedicine is a reality and is an increasing practice in our country. Is not only that we don’t have enough primary care and some specialist doctors, but also that one-quarter of the population lives in rural areas where access to healthcare could be not only difficult but sometimes impossible.

So, we are talking about more than 10 million people using every year the services or virtual doctors. And by virtual doctors, we mean video chats, and video conferences with a physician using a smartphone, a computer or a tablet. Yes! Real-time conversations with doctors without the waiting room and the time that it involves.

Of course, there are certain limitations. Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, is perfect for monitoring chronic conditions or situations, or for minor issues’ diagnosis and prescription. It’s so popular and useful that now some health insurance companies are offering telehealth as part of their portfolio of services and plans.

Different studies have shown the benefits provided by this practice, especially in older adults, people with serious conditions limiting their mobility, patients with mental health problems, and residents of rural areas.

If you think that Telehealth or Telemedicine could help you, consult your health insurance company and ask about it.

The future is here to bring us a benefit from the past, have your doctor at home.

Support and Service Animals, What You Need to Know

They are loyal, unconditional, always happy to see us, never mad at us. Pets are without a doubt the most pure love we can find, only after the one between parents and children. A pet won’t expect from you nothing more than love and care.

Over time we have discovered that dogs, for example, are great for kids and sick people. Now some dogs are not only allowed, but required to be present at certain hospitals where they can offer that unique love to lonely, depressed or very specific patients. They are considered Therapy Animals and they need to have obedience training. Their primary purpose is to provide affection and comfort to people in hospices, disaster areas, hospitals, nursing homes, or retirement homes. They are great also for patients with learning disabilities.

Now, Service Animals, just like those who are a guide for blind people or patients with other physical conditions are dogs, or in some cases miniature horses, trained to perform major tasks to assist people with physical disabilities. In order to be a service animal, they have to be certified on their training, and those who qualify to have a Service Animal are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Now, there are patients who suffer from other kind of conditions like phobias, anxiety, depression, or stress due to a specific situation. They might find relief having an animal by their side. In this case, they could qualify to have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), and usually, they are dogs, cats or other animals that are not required to be trained to perform a specific task. However, in order to have an ESA, the animal has to be prescribed for a person by a licensed therapist, like a mental health professional, in a formal letter that should state the need of the animal for the treatment of that person.

ESAs are protected by the Air Carrier Access Act  and the Fair Housing Amendments. Those laws protect an emotionally disabled person and his or her Emotional Support Animal. However, and different from the Service Animals, other businesses, places or institutions, like restaurants, hotels or stores are not obligated by law to admit your ESA.

While we have seen an increase on the number of Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals, it is important to understand the difference between those categories and over all, the importance and seriousness of their role in someone’s life. If you believe you may qualify to have a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal, talk to you physician and ask all the questions you need.

Little Things Make Big Memories

We recently celebrated Mother’s Day for our Senior patients. We wanted not only to thank them for entrusting us to take care of their health, but also to offer them a nice evening, a moment of happiness and joy that sometimes is difficult to have in the middle of the crazy routines we all are immersed on.

We spend weeks planning every detail to make of this one, a beautiful event. The idea was to show our appreciation and love with little things that together would make a great memory for all of us.

Well, we ended up receiving the presents and the gifts, because every single person who attended our Mother’s Day Celebration brought a big smile, the best attitude and the lovely intention to spend a couple of hours with us. They gave us the gift of their presence and their joy…they made our day!

Sometimes is difficult to appreciate little things that can make a big difference in someone’s life. We take for granted moments, people, situations and feelings, and reality is that we don’t even take the time to enjoy those things, but our wonderful guests at this beautiful celebration knew exactly why they were there. They were excited about the music, a simple balloon ripped the smile out of some of them, some muffins and pastries made them happy, and you can’t imagine how long the line was for a massage!

They probably have all that at home, or they could if they would want to, but what we realized is that all together, at the same time, in the same space, was what made the magic.

Hopefully new friendships arose from that event, and some stress was liberated, or maybe someone forgot a problem at least for those hours. If we accomplished at least one of those things, we can say we did good! To all the patients, their relatives and friends who brought them, to the new faces that visited us for the first time, and to all our great staff, Thank You! One more time, we confirmed that we are serving a great community!.