Curavi Health has launched a pilot of the geriatric psychiatry service at UPMC’s Sugar Creek Station nursing home in Venango County as the company prepares to expand specialty consultations to other skilled nursing facilities.
“The need for geriatric psychiatry is enormous, especially in rural facilities that do not have regular access to trained psychiatrists. We hope to provide access to these important services while eliminating the time and financial burden on residents and facilities by bringing the doctor to the residents,” said Alissa Meade, President and CEO of Curavi Health.
Currently, nursing homes and related facilities care for more than 1.5 million residents. Many of these residents have been diagnosed with one or more psychiatric illnesses, including dementia, depression, psychosis, and anxiety – all of which are treated with a variety of medications.
The need for ongoing monitoring and adjustments to these medications is great, however many nursing home residents do not have regular access to a mental health professional. More than 80 percent of rural facilities have one or fewer consultations with a psychiatrist per month, according to a study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
In the Sugar Creek pilot, Curavi Health is offering telemedicine consultations on a bi-weekly basis. At the time of the consult, both the resident and primary caregiver are able to speak with the geri-psychiatrist virtually about medications, treatment plans, and any adjustments that need to be made to best care for the resident.
“Before Curavi Health, our facility didn’t have easy access to a geriatric psychiatrist, but now we can provide our residents personalized, quality care without the stress of a doctor or hospital visit,” said Catherine Rodgers, Director of Nursing, Sugar Creek Station.
Without access to specialty consults by telemedicine, nursing homes often are required to transport the resident to a hospital or physician’s office, which in rural areas can be a long distance and cause unnecessary stress and discomfort.
After successfully piloting this new product at Sugar Creek, Curavi will look to expand specialty consult services to other skilled nursing facilities.
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