• A pilot study on the potential of remote support to enhance wound care for nursing-home patients

      Vowden, Kath; Vowden, Peter (2013)
      OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of a telehealth system, using digital pen-and-paper technology and a modified smartphone, to remotely monitor and support the effectiveness of wound management in nursing home residents. METHOD: A randomised controlled pilot study was conducted in selected nursing homes in Bradford, which were randomised to either the control or evaluation group. All patients with a wound of any aetiology or severity, resident in the selected nursing homes were considered eligible to participate in the study. Residents in the control homes who had, or developed, a wound during the study period, continued to receive unsupported care directed by the nursing home staff (defined as 'standard care'), while those in the evaluation homes received standard care supported by input from the remote experts. RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients with a wound were identified in the 16 participating Bradford nursing homes. Analysis of individual patient management pathways suggested that the system provided improved patient outcomes and that it may offer cost savings by improving dressing product selection, decreasing inappropriate onward referral and speeding healing. Despite initial anxiety related to the technology most nursing-home staff found the system of value and many were keen to see the trial continue to form part of routine patient management. CONCLUSION: The current study supports the potential value of telemedicine in wound care and indicates the value that such a system may have to nursing-home staff and patients. DECLARATION OF INTEREST: This study was funded by a Regional Innovation Fund grant from the Yorkshire and Humberside Strategic Health Authority. The authors have no conflict of interest to declare with respect to the article or its contents.