Part of getting older sometimes means requiring immediate care and relying on others for help. If you care for an elderly patient at home, you’d know how important and underestimated home healthcare services are. Yet, as many as 30% of older adult patients refuse home health assistance when discharged from the hospital, with the majority of them confusing medical at home services with home care services, or as some like to call it, “baby-sitting services”. 

Let me explain the difference. A home health care service is usually for older adults who are homebound and need intermittent skilled care (i.e. physical therapy or doctor’s visit) from a medical provider. A home care service, on the other hand, is for patients who require aid in showering, getting dressed, cooking or simply a companion. 

Earlier this year, I launched a Cardiology at Home service with Ninkatech, a home care company that provides round-the-clock, personalised support to patients in the comfort of their homes. 

What is the ‘Cardiology at Home’ service and why do we need it?

As its name suggests, the Cardiology at Home service is for patients who wish to seek cardiology-related treatments in a home setting. Specifically, this service will benefit elderly patients with coronary issues such as heart failure but have difficulty making trips to the hospital or clinic due to mobility constraints or their health. 

In 2017, roughly 31.7% of deaths in Singapore were attributed to cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease or stroke. Due to our rapidly ageing population and prevalence of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, we expect to see an increase in the number of cardiovascular-related diseases. This will undoubtedly tax our healthcare sector — already, we’re seeing an overwhelming demand in private and public cardiology departments, which will consequently mean increased waiting times for patients. This is something we cannot overlook; when it comes to heart health, time is of the essence. 

Our Cardiology at Home service can provide immediate and timely care for patients and as mentioned will be especially useful for those who have difficulties making multiple trips to and from the hospital.

How does the ‘Cardiology at Home’ service in Singapore work? 

Briefly, here’s how the initiative works: 

  • Patients who wish to enrol for this service will be assessed to see if they are suitable to be cared for at home. These assessments will be based on factors like the patient’s oxygen saturation, heart rate, and severity of diseases.
  • Once the enrolment of the patient is confirmed, monitoring systems will be set up to keep track of the patient’s health and wellbeing, feeding the data back to us such that we can provide the patient with timely and appropriate treatment.
  • This 24-hour monitoring technology provided by Ninkatec feeds us with data and analytics and detects any developments in the patient’s condition, allowing us to administer timely and appropriate responses. 
  • Older patients need not be familiar with the technology, because although it is advanced, only the medical team will need to be well-versed to ensure smooth running of the systems. 
  • The medical team consists of a cardiologist like myself, nurses and care coordination members. 
  • In the case where inpatient care at the hospital is necessary, we can also make the necessary arrangements.

Sunrise General is the only clinic in Singapore to provide services for cardiology at home, and it is by appointment basis only. ‘Cardiology at Home’ costs about $450 per consultation, excluding other services such as blood tests and medications. 

What are the benefits of the ‘Cardiology at Home’ service?

The clearest benefit of the ‘Cardiology at Home’ service is that it provides the option of treatment for patients with cardiovascular diseases in the home setting. This makes long-term care easier and more convenient for the patient and their caretakers, giving them peace of mind.

Caring for patients in their home also offers a higher level of personalisation and accuracy in terms of treatment. With more digital and technological support from monitoring systems, this enhances the level of care for these patients. When there is a high standard of treatment, it not only benefits the patients, but also eases the burden on their caretakers, while putting family members at ease knowing that their loved one is in good hands. 

Who is suitable for the ‘Cardiology At Home’ service? 

Our Cardiology at Home service should be highly considered if you or a family member: 

  • Have frequent exacerbations of high blood pressure, angina or heart failure and require multiple medicines to prevent hospitalisation and manage your condition 
  • Have difficulty using and understanding how to use your medication and diuretics effectively 
  • Require frequent interventions and office visits but can only make do with minimal activity 
  • Regularly calls the office or hospital with questions regarding the cardiac conditions, medications or symptoms and could benefit from a skilled medical team to educate, assess and manage symptoms and effective of medications 
  • Have caregivers that struggle with managing your care at home 

Conclusion

If you or a loved one needs medical treatment for a heart condition and find it troublesome to visit the hospital, you may consider ‘Cardiology at Home’ for a more personalised form of treatment that would take place in the solace of your familiar abode. It would certainly help with recovery and make things much more convenient for you and your loved one. 

References

  1. Ninkatec And Sunrise General Medical And Heart Services Introduce New ‘Cardiology At Home’ Service | Ninkatec. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2021, from https://ninkatec.com/ninkatec-and-sunrise-general-medical-and-heart-services-introduce-new-cardiology-at-home-service/
  2. Singapore Statistics – Singapore Heart Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2021, from https://www.myheart.org.sg/my-heart/heart-statistics/singapore-statistics/