Estonian welfare services company Hoolekandeteenused and Connected Health Cluster member Dermtest launched an innovative model for the treatment of ulcers in special care homes. Providers of nursing services in special care homes will have the opportunity to consult wound care specialists remotely, working together to find the best wound care and treatment and ensure faster recovery. This way, people will not be forced to turn to their general practitioner or an emergency care centre
State-owned company AS Hoolekandeteenused offers support and assistance in coping with everyday life to 1800 people with special psychological needs in 63 units across Estonia. Residents of care homes can develop chronic ulcers; treating these types of problems can prove difficult and time-consuming. To support the work of nurses in care homes, AS Hoolekandeteenused, digital health company Dermtest and Haavakliinik, a specialist wound care clinic, have teamed up to create an innovative service model.
Dermtest’s digital solution allows nurses working in special care homes to record a medical history of the ulcer, take high-quality photos and forward them to specialists for consultation. Wound care specialists will draw up an individual treatment plan and provide general recommendations to serve as the basis for planning subsequent treatment steps.
This service model brings ulcer treatment closer to people, optimising the time-cost ratio for everyone involved. Individuals get a specialist’s opinion without having to physically go to a hospital, and nurses get reassurance on continued treatment along with new knowledge on wound care.
Kaisa Rentel, health promotion adviser at Hoolekandeteenused, pointed out that this is an innovative and compact solution that is convenient for both the home nurse and the client, who does not have to leave the unit. “Whatever corner of Estonia the unit may be located in, home nurses can quickly receive detailed written instructions pertaining to the concern of a specific individual prepared by a specialist focused on wound care. Where prescription drugs or discounted aids are needed for treatment, these can also be prescribed by Haavakliinik,” explains Rentel.
Citomed’s home nurse Grete Enn, who has used this service for a more complex case, advises nurses to take advantage of this consultation opportunity. “I received incredibly helpful advice both in terms of wound dressing, aids and medicinal products. I was able to see improvement results fairly quickly,” adds Enn. Enn also finds that this will reduce the burden of family medicine centres, which would otherwise be contacted to request a home visit.
Haavakliinik’s service manager Nele Terras, who is in charge of coordinating communication between specialists on a daily basis, confirmed that users of the clinic’s services have given positive feedback on the new digital solution. “Our team encourages people to join the service and is keen to use modern solutions to better assist patients with ulcers,” Terras adds.
Priit Kruus, head of digital health company Dermtest OÜ, pointed out that Dermtest’s comprehensive skin and ulcer treatment software is flexible and adaptable to a variety of situations. “This can be seen when establishing interdisciplinary and integrated service models with a focus on early treatment, which is particularly important in care homes and special care homes, where it can be difficult to move to receive specialist care – especially during a pandemic,” Kruus explains. “A study conducted in 2019 showed that when treatment is delayed, local authorities and loved ones are left to handle the largest share (nearly 80%) of the burden of disease caused by complications, which can be avoided by rapid and preventive intervention.”
There are plans to work together to further the service model in order to bring it into wider use and use it to create new value for nursing and care service providers.