Helsinki provides remote home care to 1000 residents now

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The City of Helsinki is providing remote home care to about 1000 residents now, said the city in a press release on Tuesday.

Remote care is the primary form of care in Helsinki for residents who are starting to need support at home, which has been provided in Helsinki for 10 years now.

However, the choice of whether to provide home care remotely or in person is always carefully considered by the Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division, as remote care is not suitable for everyone.

Remote care involves a health care professional visiting a client remotely using the video and audio features of a tablet device. This month marked a milestone for remote care in Helsinki with the total number of remote care visits reaching 2.5 million.

“The ideal type of home care is largely dependent on the client’s functioning, and individual needs are always thoroughly assessed. All of our remote care clients are also provided with traditional on-site home care. Remote visits also allow us to easily adjust the number of daily home care check-ins,” said Anne-Maria Siitonen, service manager of Palvelukeskus Helsinki's Care Services.

For remote care, the client is provided with a tablet device that is used to carry out the remote care visits. The device is designed to be easy to use, and the two-way connection with a nurse is opened automatically. The client does not need to do much more than sit in front of the device when it is time for a visit.

“During a remote visit, we check the client's condition, how they are eating and whether they are taking their medication, in addition to which we may measure sugar levels or blood pressure. We also engage in small talk with the client. Some clients also participate in shared lunches via the tablet device. If we find that something is not right, we immediately contact the on-site home care provider. We work closely together,” Siitonen said.

Remote care is also of interest to many health care professionals who are hoping to make traditional care work more varied or interested in new forms of health care.

As a result of COVID-19, remote care working methods have also been developed to be more flexible, in addition to which remote and part-time work has increased. There are now nurses working for Palvelukeskus Helsinki who carry out remote visits from as far away as Kempele.

Although there may be several kilometres between the client and the nurse, according to Siitonen a remote visit is still a very close experience for many clients.

If necessary, clients can also use the tablet device to contact a nurse during the day. This provides security for many clients and loved ones.

Remote care is also being constantly developed in Helsinki. Siitonen points out that remote care has plenty of potential in terms of both technology and as a way of providing health and social services.

“The equipment can be used for a wide variety of purposes, from transmitting cultural content to increasing interaction between people. During COVID-19, we piloted a family interface that also enabled relatives to call the client's remote care device. This is a highly requested feature that we are currently developing further. My hope is that the implementation of these kinds of services that promote social well-being and health can be advanced in the future despite funding and legislative restrictions,” Siitonen added.

  •  Helsinki
  •  Remote
  •  Care


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