#1 Unlikely Solution for Patient Loneliness During the Pandemic: Tablet Holders
The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. For the first time in a century, hospitals and long-term care facilities have been flooded with the sick, who are more isolated than ever. It’s so important for healthcare professionals to be able to physically isolate those who are infected so that they can’t spread the disease, but that brings up another huge problem. Social contact and regular physician visits are vital to the success of a sick patient. How do we deal with both to come up with a safe and compassionate solution? For that, doctors turned to the unlikely hero — tablet holders for telehealth.
Telehealth: A new solution to an old problem.
Social isolation might be a more pressing problem now, but it’s hardly a new one. For years it’s been an underappreciated health risk that affects a huge number of the adult population. One-quarter of all Americans age 65 or older are considered to be socially isolated. That number only goes up when we look at long-term care populations. Those feelings of loneliness don’t just result in sadness. They lead to an increased risk of depression, alcoholism, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts (Simard & Volicer, 2020).
Telehealth works by using a tablet holder to communicate via video to receive a wide array of health services. Through the use of a secure tablet holder, care facilities are now facilitating video conferencing with loved ones, social services, or even legal professionals. Additionally, many hospitals and long-term care facilities have started equipping their hospital beds with simple, sturdy telehealth devices that can keep patients connected and cared for, while still following all safety protocols.
This has only been made possible because of a few crucial tech advancements in telehealth monitors, device mounts, and, recently, tablet holders. This is exactly why we love working with engineers so much. They see the problem and come up with a human solution.
How our flex arm became an unlikely tool to combat loneliness.
Telehealth devices may be streamlined to just a few simple components: a tablet holder, a tablet mount, and a flex arm mount. In our designs, flexible arm tablet holders are typically installed on overhead hospital bed mounts, rolling carts, or stable floor stands for our medical customers. The flexible arm provides the support to ensure elderly long-term care residents can keep their hands free while using the tablet.
These flex arm devices also allow hospitalized patients to flex the tablet so that they can converse in bed, a big deal when a patient is battling an intense disease like COVID-19. The easy-to-use-and-adjust nature of the flex arm is extremely valuable for telehealth visits. The flexibility of the mounting allows for patients to be comfortable and adjusts for just the right view. This development has allowed for telehealth to become ubiquitous in most health care facilities — in fact, the numbers show that this is one of the biggest medical developments in recent history. For more stories on how the flex arm has been combating COVID-19, read our blog post.
When it comes to telehealth, the numbers are good, but the stories are even better.
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in telehealth visits. According to the latest Health and Human Services report, only 0.1% of Medicare visits were conducted via telehealth in February 2020. In April that number rose to 43.5% — but that only tells half the story.
Too often it’s easy to feel removed from how your medical device helps people. That’s what’s been so great about this particular development. Sure we’ve seen the numbers, but what we’re more touched by are the stories.
Our customers have shared stories of care teams providing updates to family members through video conferencing through a tablet mounted to our flex arms. We have also been told heartwarming stories of family members being able to video chat with their loved ones in care facilities, praying, singing, reading letters, or just sitting quietly to provide company. We have also been aware of family members utilizing bedside tablets to tell their loved one their last goodbye.
We are honored that our flex arms may be providing hope and comfort and healing during this challenging time.
Curious about how to utilize a flex arm mount, tablet mount, or tablet holder in your next design?