Telehospice Brings Faster Treatment, Stronger Connections

When William MacGill smiles his frank, open smile he looks like he could be Paul Newman’s older brother. At 98, the former World War II veteran is engaged and engaging. It is his first time at Alive’s residence in Nashville, but he already has a group of friends on staff waiting to ease the transition as he moves out of the home he built fifty years ago.

That’s because William is part of Alive’s pilot Henry Hooker Alive Connect telehospice program. He has been using an Alive iPad with custom teleconferencing software to make friends with the call center staff and talk face-to-face with his medical team whenever he has questions or concerns. This connection has been critical for William who has lived independently for years.

He also uses it to compose poems for the nurses and aides who care for him each day and to share other creations such as the song he wrote for his late wife, which was then sung and recorded by his granddaughter.
Alive launched its Henry Hooker Alive Connect telehospice pilot program in 2017 with 50 iPads. Patients and family members use the telehospice iPads for everything from emergency care to sharing special moments with family.

With Henry Hooker Connect, patients can be seen by a doctor or nurse immediately. Problems are resolved more quickly, easing the stress on caregivers and patients, especially those in remote locations.

Today, 150 patients are participating in the Henry Hooker Alive Connect telehospice program, and we are raising funds to bring this incredible technology to all our in-home patients (90% of our case load).

We are grateful to the West End Home Foundation, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and the Memorial Foundation for supporting the Henry Hooker Alive Connect telehospice program.

Editor’s Note: As we went to press with this issue, Mr. MacGill passed away peacefully.

Here are a just a few examples of the critical difference that Henry Hooker Connect has made:

  • A patient’s wife contacted the call center via iPad because her husband was experiencing pain. The nurse on duty could see that the situation was serious; he had a herniated colostomy. His usual nurse was dispatched to his home immediately. She treated him with the help of a doctor supervising via telehospice. The patient and his wife remained at home while this potentially life-threatening situation was quickly resolved.
  • A paid caregiver called because his patient’s Foley catheter was not draining. The patient was in severe pain and did not want to wait for a nurse to arrive to have it removed, but the caregiver was afraid to remove it without guidance. Using the iPad, an Alive nurse instructed the caregiver on the catheter removal, and the patient was immediately relieved of his pain.
  • Call center staff had a hard time understanding a caregiver and spouse with a very heavy accent. The richness of face-to-face communication, with the iPad, made communication much clearer and easier for all involved.

Telehospice Benefits:

  • Immediate face-to-face connection to medical professionals when problems or questions arise
  • Faster diagnosis and treatment
  • Increased comfort and reassurance for patients and family
  • Greater connection and less isolation for patients