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$60,000 grant delivers at-home care to Kauai


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POSTED: Monday, January 05, 2009

Patients on Kauai who are recovering from surgery or have serious medical conditions now can receive nursing attention without leaving home.

St. Francis Home Care Services-Kauai has provided state-of-the-art electronic monitors for patients through a $60,000 grant from the Antone and Edene Vidinha Trust, according to a recent announcement. The home care program is leasing the monitors to reach more patients.

St. Francis Home Care Services also plans to start so-called “;telehealth”; monitoring on Oahu in March.

The equipment, set up in the home, prompts patients to check their vital signs, such as weight, blood pressure, blood sugar level or oxygen in the blood, and it reminds them to take their medications.

The information is sent by phone line to the home care office for nurses to review. The home health nurse can provide immediate attention and follow-up if the patient's medical condition is changing. The patient's doctor also will be notified to determine if the patient's care plan needs changing.

The equipment is removed from the patient's home when services no longer are needed.

“;Home health nurses generally visit their patients two or three times a week to monitor and assess their patients' medical condition,”; said Dardanelle Kaauwai, director of St. Francis Home Care Services-Kauai. “;Telehealth monitoring allows our nurses to be in contact with their patients on a daily basis and spot any significant trends in their medical condition, such as increased blood pressure or pulse, fluid retention, weight gains and variables in their blood glucose levels.”;

Kaauwai said the telehealth monitors also enable patients to take an active role in managing their health.

“;We believe this will have an impact on obtaining positive patient outcomes,”; she said. “;We envision telehealth monitoring in helping to reduce unnecessary trips to the emergency room or the need for recurrent hospitalizations because symptoms of potential problems are intervened before they become too serious.”;

The Antone & Edene Vidinha Charitable Trust was established by the late Kauai Mayor Antone “;Kona”; Vidinha and his wife, Edene, to assist nonprofit organizations that serve Garden Island residents.

The trust provides grants for educational scholarships to Hawaii colleges or universities, churches on Kauai and health organizations and hospitals that benefit Kauai residents.

St. Francis was the first to introduce home health services to Hawaii in 1962, recognizing that patients recover more quickly in their own surroundings. The program began on Oahu and was expanded to Kauai in 1977.

Home health services, including skilled nursing and personal care and therapies, require a physician's referral.

For more information about St. Francis Home Care Services-Kauai, call 245-7430.