HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amid a COVID-19 Delta variant surge, a nursing shortage, the ICUs of several Texas hospital systems at 100% capacity, and emergency room wait times as long as 75 hours, the daunting prospect of bringing seniors to hospital waiting rooms should, if possible, be completely avoided. Developed in partnership with Tembo Health during the onset of the pandemic, Belmont Village Senior Living’s Urgent Care Telemedicine program offers an innovative alternative to offsite hospital and doctor visits that’s specifically designed for seniors. Access to the services is also free of charge to residents of participating Belmont Village locations, allowing them high-quality access to health care from the comfort of their communities. Since the program’s launch in 2020, Belmont Village has seen a significant reduction in the number of visits to emergency rooms and outside urgent care facilities for participating residents; reducing discomfort, risk and stress for residents and loved ones.
“When COVID-19 hit and emergency rooms were either filled or unable to take non-COVID cases, the critical importance of telemedicine for our residents became immediately clear. We set out to find the best provider of telemedicine and make this service readily available to our residents, and the result has become a blessing as the pandemic continues,” says Patricia Will, Founder and CEO of Belmont Village Senior Living. “Operated by our own nurses, who are familiar with the residents, the technology itself is astounding. The carts feature a screen where residents and their families can attend doctor’s visits in high resolution, as well as equipment providing real time testing to get urgent answers quickly. It’s the future of telemedicine, far exceeding the ‘doc in a box’ most envision.”
Tembo works as a team with the senior’s existing health care and support system so that everyone is on the same page. The resident’s normal physician is contacted and briefed by Tembo, and the Tembo team communicates appointment results to the resident’s physician and specialty doctors for follow-up care, forwarding all results with the goal of collaboration and teamwork to seamlessly coordinate a care plan.
Quickly becoming a foundational part of their resident health and safety program, Tembo is currently provided to Belmont Village residents in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, & Ft. Lauderdale. The Urgent Care program with Tembo is a vital asset when an urgent care need arises, and Belmont Village’s clinical team, equipped with specialized telehealth training, initiates a telemedicine appointment for the resident. During this appointment, a board-certified physician specializing in emergency and geriatric care will administer an exam with the support of Belmont nurses, utilizing sophisticated diagnostic equipment on-site. If it is determined that an emergency room visit is necessary, the Tembo physician will call ahead to the ER, brief them on the medical details and immediate needs of the resident to help them provide better and more timely care. The Tembo doctors will also conduct follow-up checkups, evaluating the senior’s status several times a day if necessary. Families can rest assured that their loved one is receiving top-notch care, with all Tembo doctors being board-certified and from prestigious institutions such as Harvard, UCLA, and Vanderbilt.
The most common concern about telemedicine for approximately 75% of older Americans is that healthcare providers cannot conduct physical exams via telehealth visits. Tembo’s custom carts, which Belmont Village’s own clinical staff are trained to utilize, come equipped with high-end testing technology, featuring a digital stethoscope, EKG, diagnostic cameras, digital otoscope, dermascope, and Digital Electric Cardiogram. Tembo doctors in Boston can hear lung and heart sounds from residents in Houston and can check ears, throats, wounds, rashes, and other areas that are frequently examined during a senior’s doctor or hospital visit. Bloodwork, ultrasounds, and other important tests are done on-site through Tembo’s partnership with local mobile health technicians, who will come to the Belmont Village community within 24 hours and conduct blood draws and x-rays from the comfort of a resident’s apartment.
“In Swahili, Tembo means elephant, a beautiful connection to our core values, as elephants are the only other mammal aside from humans that take care of their elderly. Our partnership with Tembo for our Urgent Care Telemedicine Program reimagines the possibilities of clinical care for senior living communities,” adds Will. “In fact, I had a first-hand experience when my father, who is a Belmont Village resident, received telehealth care in real time, on the spot when experiencing heart palpitations. The pandemic may have kickstarted this technological innovation, but it will certainly be an enduring feature of Belmont Village’s unique, comprehensive approach to providing seniors with health care.”
About Belmont Village Senior Living
Founded in Houston in 1997, Belmont Village is an integrated developer, owner, and operator of high-quality seniors housing with more than 4000 employees. Its communities are renowned for distinctive design, high standards of life safety, reputation for quality of care and leading edge, award-winning programs. Belmont Village is certified as a Great Place to Work® and has been ranked as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s 50 Best Workplaces for Aging Services since 2018. Learn more about Belmont Village at www.belmontvillage.com and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.