Moving towards novel multidisciplinary approaches for improving elderly quality of life: The emerging role of telemedicine in Sicily

Sicilian Teleneurology Group, Giuseppe Silvestri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction Elderly care is a worldwide social and economic challenge for the public health system, and it requires the development of new management strategies. Telemedicine provides an innovative approach towards elderly care, especially for those with chronic diseases. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the potential role of a multidisciplinary telemedicine approach for improving elderly quality of life. Methods Twenty-two participants received weekly vital parameter monitoring and nutritional counselling, biweekly psychological counselling and a monthly consultation with a neurologist. The neuropsychological assessment included the Mini Mental State Examination, the Activities of Daily Living, the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Short-Form Health Survey, and was administered at enrolment (T0) and at the end of the study (T3). The nutritional evaluation included haematochemical examinations of glycaemia, total cholesterol, and triglycerides at baseline (T0) and every four months (T1, T2, T3). Results Significant differences in Activities of Daily Living, Geriatric Depression Scale and all domains of the Short-Form Health Survey were observed between baseline and the end of the study. The haematochemical parameters showed obvious changes over time, especially in cholesterol values, and the patients with hypercholesterolaemia and hypertriglyceridaemia showed a reduction in body mass index. Moreover, we found that the haematochemical values were moderately correlated with the Activities of Daily Living, Geriatric Depression Scale and Short-Form Health Survey scores. Conclusion Telemedicine can be a suitable tool for caring for elderly people more efficiently by promoting the remission of depressive symptoms and improving social functioning, cognitive levels and nutritional habits to prevent vascular diseases and exacerbations of pre-existing chronic illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1357633X17753057
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 1 2018

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