Telehealth saves a life in Northern Ireland's water crisis

From a press release (PDF download) by Home Telehealth Limited, 30 December 2010:

Thomas Gorman who lives in East Belfast suffers from severe diabetes. Thomas, who lives with his disabled wife, has been without water for over 4 days. Thomas and his wife have been unable to go to the water collection points setup by Northern Ireland Water.

Thomas, an insulin dependent diabetic, had resorted to drinking lemonade to keep him hydrated. Unfortunately this had the adverse effect of increasing his blood sugars over the last 24 hours.

However, Thomas is monitored daily using telehealth technology provided by The Ulster Hospital and delivered by Bristol-based Home Telehealth Limited (HTL) through its Telehealth Care Centre, located at Weavers Court, Belfast.

Thomas is one of 150 patients in both Belfast and South Eastern Trust who carry out a monitoring session each morning in the comfort of their own home using a telehealth monitor which connects to their telephone line. The monitor gathers their vital signs such as blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen levels and temperature as well as asking questions about health status. The monitoring session lasts about 5 minutes then all of the information is sent securely down the phone line to the HTL Telehealth Care Centre nursing team.

The information sent from the patient is reviewed by the HTL’s telehealth nurses within 30 minutes and they look for trends or vital signs that are outside the normal limits for that individual patient. If an abnormality is detected the telehealth nurse will contact the patient by phone and carryout a consultation with the patient to ascertain their medical condition.

Today, one of the HTL’s telehealth nurses was reviewing the vitals sent from Thomas’s telehealth monitor and she noticed a significant increase in his blood sugar readings in the past 24 hours. Thomas was contacted by the telehealth nurse and through clinical questioning Thomas informed the nurse that he had no drinking water and that owing to his medical condition and his wife’s disability that he was unable to get to the water collection points. He had resorted to drinking lemonade which had increased his blood sugars to a high level.

Making further enquiries the telehealth nurse discovered that Thomas had no family who could bring him water. The telehealth nurse decided that this was a critical situation for Thomas and after numerous calls made contact with Northern Ireland Water and explained Thomas’s situation. Northern Ireland Water agreed that they would deliver bottled water to Thomas as a matter of urgency.

Thomas stated today that he is so glad that he had the telehealth monitor installed. The monitor has given him great confidence and assurance. Knowing that a nurse is reviewing him every day is fantastic and he feels that he able to manage his condition with the support he gets from the nurses at The Ulster Hospital and the telehealth nurses who phone him most days.

Home Telehealth Limited website.

[Disclosure: Home Telehealth Limited has advertised on Telecare Aware.]

1 thought on “Telehealth saves a life in Northern Ireland's water crisis

  1. Northern Ireland remote monitoring
    One has to wonder how many more Thomases there are out there…people who are now at risk because the Northern Ireland Remote Monitoring Service procurement fiasco has still failed to put a service in place a year or more late. (TA items)

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