Eileen Mukora knew families were worried about their loved ones getting the medical care they needed during COVID-19. Yet, bringing in physicians who were caring for patients in hospitals or multiple other facilities seemed to introduce more risk for Montereau residents.
Eileen, Montereau’s Lead Nurse, looked for a creative solution and found it through technology: telehealth, specifically.
“I love this position and love that I have been able to help with the new changes when this situation emerged. I’ve been able to learn a lot,” Eileen said.
While many health care companies and apps now offer virtual visits — talking to a provider through a mobile device — what Montereau offers goes much further. Eileen or other nursing staff visit in person with a mobile device or laptop in hand, guiding the resident through the telehealth process.
The nurse serves as the eyes and ears for the provider. The nurse takes vitals, listens to the heart and lungs, and uses the mobile device to review health concerns such as wounds or swollen ankles. When the picture isn’t clear, the nurse describes the situation.
In the past, Montereau brought physicians on campus, so there was no need for telehealth. Yet, COVID-19’s high risk meant an alternative was needed — and fast. Our residents’ physicians may visit other communities or have hospital privileges, so they are higher risk for carrying the virus. Telehealth allows them to see our residents without coming onto campus, which helps protect everyone.
“Eileen has had to go above and beyond during this crisis,” said Dana Hammer, Montereau Director of Nursing. “Eileen has been the central person who had to dive in with both hands and feet and set up our telehealth that enables her to be able to be the link between the residents and the physicians.”
Telehealth has provided care for residents in both assisted living and memory care, but has been most often used for those in long-term care.
Eileen appreciates the way Montereau has handled the pandemic and making the most of the “new normal.” Montereau leaders have ramped up communication and safety protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “We didn’t have any chaos going into this virus situation and how to handle it,” she said.
Still, Eileen knows this has been a trying time for residents. She’s been proud of how they’ve remained strong through this difficult situation. Eileen and the whole Montereau team have been aware of the need for exceptional service and care through this time.
“I think the consistent and constant collaboration of all the departments and interdisciplinary teams have been the key to our outstanding service,” said Dana. “We’re consistently looking at what’s available to stay ahead of the game.”
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