New Videoconferencing Network Provides Palliative Care in Champlain Region
The care of palliative care patients in Eastern Ontario has gone high tech with video networking. Before now, such technology was generally limited to bigger cities, but it has finally made its way in Eastern Ontario.
On August 22, a video-conferencing network was unveiled for the first time, to allow staff at a dozen palliative care facilities in Ottawa and across the Champlain region -- which includes areas in Renfrew, Kemptville, Cornwall and Hawkesbury -- to connect with experts (more than 1,400 healthcare professionals) throughout the province of Quebec using the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). This will make it possible to care for those who are facing a life-threatening illness.
The program, which has nurses, doctors and healthcare providers involved in palliative care, now allows access to telemedicine where the medical experts can connect to palliative care teams to discuss complex cases and conduct clinical consultations from a distance. The benefits of the palliative care program via the OTN include timely treatment, reduced travel and improved care.
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This has all been made possible thanks to the recent Telelink fundraising campaign, with over $380,000 raised by the OutCare Foundation; they are the only charity devoted to raising funds for palliative care across Eastern Ontario.
Thanks to the raised funds, as well as some major donors and partners to make the project happen, now thousands of palliative care patients can be served annually.
Access to an established healthcare network permits medical staff to give and receive specialized-level advice for those patients with end-of-life care needs.
Using the Telelink to establish a communication link over the OTN secure videoconferencing network allows for any of the available 12 palliative care sites to call up and hold a two-way conferencing session to converse at a distance using one’s own audio/video telematics systems equipment. It is what makes it possible to engage in remote patient assessments and discuss the most recent palliative care research while caring for those involved in medical therapy that alleviates symptoms.
The formed network and technology involved in conferencing is able to benefit those sites that care for patients who are in acute conditions and may reside in hospitals awaiting treatment; it also proves valuable for staff members who want to participate in training programs as well as for health care professionals that need to hold periodic meetings.
In sum, the newly established Telelink will improve the quality and standard of palliative care and foster seamless, patient-focused services in Eastern Ontario for the following 12 sites: Beth Donovan Hospice, Bruyère Continuing Care Palliative Care Program, Carefor Cornwall Hospice, Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program, Hawkesbury & District General Hospital Palliative Care Unit, Hospice Care Ottawa (May Court Hospice & Central West Hospice), Hospice Renfrew, Montfort Hospital Palliative Care Consult Service, Queensway-Carleton Hospital Palliative Care Consult Service, the Ottawa Hospital Palliative Care Team (Civic Campus & General Campus).
Edited by Rory J. Thompson