Jun 22, 2021 12:02 PM

Grant helps connect Dickinson County patients with telehealth services

Posted Jun 22, 2021 12:02 PM
<i><b>Verl and Betty Eckman, of Abilene, appreciate the opportunity to visit with Verl’s doctor during a telehealth visit facilitated by Home Health and Hospice of Dickinson County nurse Melissa Peterson, RN.</b> Photos courtesy Memorial Health System</i>
Verl and Betty Eckman, of Abilene, appreciate the opportunity to visit with Verl’s doctor during a telehealth visit facilitated by Home Health and Hospice of Dickinson County nurse Melissa Peterson, RN. Photos courtesy Memorial Health System

ABILENE - Thanks to a Connectivity Emergency Response Grant (CERG) from the Kansas Department of Commerce, Home Health and Hospice of Dickinson County is now better able to serve its patients.

The $26,419.80 grant, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allows Home Health and Hospice of Dickinson County patients to now have access to telehealth services, even if they lack access to a broadband connection, or unable to afford and/or operate the technology, according to a news release from the organization.

Home Health and Hospice of Dickinson County nurses are bringing the internet and telehealth services to their patients within Dickinson County. The grant provided Home Health and Hospice of Dickinson County nurses and providers with 20 FirstNet enabled iPads, which allow them to facilitate telehealth visits for their patients. The iPads also kept families connected during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We are thankful for the grant, and the ability to bring families and health care providers together with technology,” Home Health and Hospice Director, Carol Whitehair said.

By bringing the service to the patients, the patients are able to stay in the comfort and safety of their own homes and receive the medical care they need.

“It’s really neat to be able to have this,” Betty Eckman said during a telehealth visit for her husband, Verl. “We had been seeing telehealth visits talked about on television, and are now really happy to be able to have it for Verl’s care.”

<b>Verl Eckman talks with&nbsp;<i>Dr. Bill Short as&nbsp; Peterson looks on.</i></b>
Verl Eckman talks with Dr. Bill Short as  Peterson looks on.

Home Health and Hospice of Dickinson County is an affiliate of Memorial Health System of Abilene. The organization serves residents in all areas of the county, including areas where traditional cellular or internet services are not available, the news release noted.

“Some residents do not have the ability, resources, or means to easily get into an office to see their doctor,” Whitehair said. “Our goal is to provide our caregivers with the ability to bring needed telehealth services to their patients, no matter their location in Dickinson County, by equipping them with FirstNet enabled iPads, which allows for real-time telehealth communication with doctors and other health care providers.”

Memorial Health System is a community anchor due to the critical health services it provides to Dickinson County residents. Services include a well-equipped, up-to-date Critical Access Hospital, Home Health and Hospice, Long Term Care Facility, HUD Housing for Seniors, and much more. Home Health and Hospice services provide a critical service for residents in rural Dickinson County, as many residents are elderly and often homebound, or struggle to find assistance to safely get to and from their homes.