St. Luke's enhances rural health care for patients

By KBJR News 1

June 4, 2014 Updated Jun 6, 2014 at 11:44 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- Saint Luke's Hospital in Duluth has received a $50,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to provide patients with new telemonitoring equipment.

Hospital officials celebrated on Wednesday, with Minnesota Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon.

"By 2020, Minnesota will have more residents 65 years and older than school children, a first in state history," said the Lt. Gov. "Technologies such as telemonitoring are critical to helping our seniors stay in their homes and avoid arduous trips to the hospital."

The telemonitors are available to patients who live in rural areas who may not have access to a land line.

The wireless device allows home care nurses to track a patient's vital signs on a daily basis while the patient is at home.

"We are able to notice subtle changes in the patient's condition that the patient themselves probably wouldn't notice until they are already in crisis and need to go back to the hospital," said Stephanie Keppers-Anderson, a home care manager at St. Luke's.

The device is for patients who qualify for home care and is offered at no charge.

The monitoring unit is placed in a person's home to measure blood pressure, oxygen levels and weight.

At a set time each day, a voice prompt provides instructions for the monitoring process.

The information is collected and the results are sent through the telephone line to a registered nurse.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.