Emphasizing a Team-Based Approach to Telehealth for Neurodegenerative Disorders in Long-Term Care: George Grossberg, MD

The Samuel W. Fordyce professor and director of Geriatric Psychiatry at the St Louis University School of Medicine discussed the critical roles specialists and caregivers during telehealth visits in long-term care settings. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"Everybody plays a role. We bring all these people together to figure out what’s going on with this particular individual, and what can we do to help. Whether its nonpharmacologic interventions, or at times, the necessary pharmacologic therapies, to improve the quality of life of that vulnerable patient and his or her care partners or caregivers."

Telemedicine offers a unique set of advantages for residents in long-term care (LTC) facilities if effectively supported and implemented, including expanded access to specialists in rural or underserved areas or for people with dementia who cannot travel for off-site visits. In late 2020, a multidisciplinary consensus panel was convened to collate a list of best practices for LTC facilities and specialists when conducting telemedicine with residents with dementia-related psychosis or Parkinson disease-related psychosis (PDP).

Of the recommendations included, a team-based approach was heavily emphasized. This begins at the administrative level, where acceptance by administrators sets a positive tone regarding the use of telemedicine, and thereby, empowers staff in resident care to participate in and support telemedicine visits. The authors also stressed the importance of team members recognizing psychosis-like symptoms, responding to needs and questions, and remaining readily available to the primary care physician in emergency situations.

Senior author George Grossberg, MD, feels as though these team-based approaches to telemedicine should be applied in all LTC facilities that house patients with neurodegenerative disorders. Grossberg, the Samuel W. Fordyce professor and director of Geriatric Psychiatry at St Louis University School of Medicine, sat down to discuss this specific recommendation, the roles specialists and caregivers play, and the questions that need to be asked when evaluating patients for neuropsychiatric symptoms.