The Sun Country Regional Health Authority learned at its November 27 meeting that all of its facilities, except for three, have now been connected to the provincial Telehealth system, which allows patients, residents and clients to access doctors in other parts of the province and the country without travelling.
Sunset Haven in Carnduff is the latest to join the Telehealth network.
Using the services of a doctor, psychiatrist, or other specialist through Telehealth saves patients and clients thousands of dollars in travel costs every year, and eliminates hours of inconvenience. Telehealth uses information technology to link patients to health care from a distance.
Using advanced two-way videoconferencing equipment, patients and clients may also be able to see a specialist from another province if that specialist service is not offered in Saskatchewan.
During a Telehealth appointment, the patient is able to see, hear and talk to their health care provider. This is similar to seeing the doctor on TV, but patients and providers can interact. Another health care provider, such as a nurse, may also be present in the room to assist the patient and the doctor at the other end.
By using this technology, health professionals from almost anywhere can see and examine patients living in remote communities as if they were in the same room.
Telehealth is also used for educational sessions for both the public and staff members. A list of events is posted at all regional facilities and on Sun Country's website.
Other highlights from the meeting were:
*The Sun Country Health Region (SCHR) has 24 active patients in its new lymphedema program, and they have had 18 more referrals. The therapies program at Tatagawa View, which provides the service, is receiving a number of self-referrals, and is offering about eight hours of service each week.
*A Healthy Balance Workshop was a great success in Kipling on October 23, with 18 people in attendance. A wide range of health care services were provided, including home care, dietitian services, the Carlyle pharmacy, a nurse practitioner, mental health, EMS, MEDIchair, and Phizer.
*Walking programs have been established in some long-term care facilities to help residents with balance and basic health needs.
*Fifty bursaries have been awarded since April 1, including 39 for students in registered nursing (RN); one nurse practitioner; one registered practical nurse; one occupational therapist; two primary care paramedics; one advanced care paramedic; and three medical students.
*The SCHR continues to offer clinical placements for students, primarily in the nursing programs. This is viewed as a significant recruitment opportunity. In November, clinical placements took place with five RN students; public health and emergency at St. Joseph's Hospital were among the departments. including public health students and St. Joseph's emergency in Estevan.
*The health region has seen a 17.07 per cent decrease for sick leave for April to August. Sun Country is seeking an overall 6.2 per cent decrease for 2013-14.
*Overtime hours have not seen the same reduction. From April to October 2013, SCHR has experienced about a 19.5 per cent increase.