All – it seems likely that we’ll be dealing with this virus and its effects for a while, so I’m going to pass along ideas, non-medical information and resources as I find them. If you do not want to receive these emails, just let me know by replying “STOP.” I welcome your ideas and hope you will all participate – let’s keep it factual and civil.
Update on grocery deliveries:
• Von’s did not deliver on the order I placed on-line Wednesday. It was scheduled for delivery Friday 6-8 PM. I got texts stating that items were unavailable around 6:00, and got a delivery of 3 items I had not ordered around 7. I won’t use Von’s service again. I hear Instacart is doing better and will try that next.
Resources for Caregivers of People with Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association sent a reminder yesterday that the 24 hour Help Line is available for people caring for someone with dementia. That number is 800.272.3900. You can find tips for caregiving during this challenging time at https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/coronavirus-(covid-19)-tips-for-dementia-care Caregiver support groups and educational programs are being moved on-line. For more information, go to https://www.alz.org or contact your local office.

Telehealth Options for Medical Care and Advice
Telehealth is a common way for people to get non-emergency health care without going to a provider’s office or a health care facility and is an important option during this time. It includes phone calls as well as on-line video “visits.” Benefits include avoiding the disruption and exposure of travel, waiting rooms, and face-to-face encounters.
Providers use a variety of systems for telehealth appointments. Some, like Dignity Health, work through an app that patients need to download onto a phone, tablet or computer. Coastal Cardiology goes through its patient portal, and is also using FaceTime (which works only on Apple devices). Call your provider’s office – before you need an appointment – to learn how to connect with them by phone or on line and get set up so it’s ready to go.
Preparing for a telehealth appointment:
• Get organized. Be prepared to describe your concern, the symptoms, when they started and what you have already tried to feel better that did – or didn’t – work. Make notes before you connect with the provider so you don’t forget anything.
• Remember that the provider may not have all of your records in front of them. Be prepared to list the medications and any over the counter products you take (name, dose, frequency, and when you started (if the medication is new)), as well as to describe any recent test results that might be relevant to the appointment.
• Use the camera on your phone, laptop or tablet. Your appearance in a live picture can give the provider important additional information. No one cares if your hair is a mess.
• Have someone with you to take notes and help you gather information.
• Have your pharmacy information (location and phone number) ready. If the provider says they are going to order a medication, call the pharmacy to confirm that they have received the order and find out when it will be ready. You may have to call the provider’s office to track it down.

Remote Patient Monitoring
Medicare pays for some remote patient monitoring equipment related to management of chronic diseases like congestive heart failure. There are devices that will relay weight, blood pressure, pulse, temperature and other data to your provider electronically. Ask your health care provider whether there is home monitoring equipment available to you; that way you can stay on top of your routine health care when you can’t go to the office.

More to follow – KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON