Telemedicine found effective at treating nursing home residents with Parkinson's

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Telemedicine improves both motor function and quality of life in nursing home residents with Parkinson's, according to a newly released report.

The remote clinical visits conducted in the trial were similar to most in-person doctor visits. They consisted of patient health updates, medication reviews and motor skills evaluations. Trained nurses at the Presbyterian Home for Central New York assisted specialists at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) with certain aspects of the visit. Researchers followed 14 patients, some of whom received telemedicine treatments, some of whom did not. At the end of the six-month study, those who received telemedicine treatments demonstrated improved motor functions and quality of life. They also reported greater satisfaction of care than the non-telemedicine group.

Reacting to the success of the trial, the Presbyterian Home sought additional funding to extend the program, according to report authors. While telemedicine is more cost-effective than hospital visits, funding issues remain a stumbling block to its widespread use. Results of the study were released at the International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder in Paris earlier this month.