Michael's Story

Michael's Storymichael_and_marie.jpg

Background

Michael Farren and his wife Marie live in Londonderry, Michael suffers with diabetes and had a number of hospital admissions before telemonitoring was installed. Marie is Michael’s primary carer, this is what she had to say about telemonitoring...

Before telemonitoring

Before telemonitoring Michael’s blood sugar levels were really erratic and we couldn’t keep track or maintain a stable level, which meant he was in and out of hospital on a regular basis. It was like a vicious circle, we found it very difficult to keep on top of his condition. Often when his levels spiked we would just put it down to something he ate and expect it to drop on its own, which it rarely did.

The hospital referred us to the diabetes team where Michael was given some new medicine and telemonitoring was suggested to us. The nurse came out to our home and explained what telemonitoring was and how it works. We were willing to give it a go to see if it would help us better manage his diabetes from home, cutting out all the constant travel and trips to the hospital.

Everything just fell into place once telemonitoring was fitted, it’s so easy to use, Michael takes his own bloods everyday and I send the readings over once a week. It only takes five minutes, I just plug it into the phone line and the readings are automatically sent.

How has telemonitoring helped?

The main benefit we gain from telemonitoring is that we are more aware of what the readings are and have gained control. We now know exactly what the readings should and shouldn’t be. The monitor also helps us keep on track. Before it was difficult to track everything on our own, now we have the monitoring we're able to control his levels on a daily basis, Michael hasn’t had a hospital admission or infection since having telemonitoring installed.

There is also the element of support, if the readings spike a particular day we are able to reassess what has happened to cause this. On one occasion Michael had forgotten to take his medicine and so his readings were irregular. It’s reassuring knowing that the diabetes nurse calls if there are any abnormal readings and if we need any advice or support she is always there. You have to ask questions and be in control of a condition like diabetes, you can’t just sit back and do nothing, telemonitoring helps us keep on top of everything.

Advice to other patients and carers

We would definitely recommend telemonitoring to other people in similar situations to Michael, it’s really helped us take control and manage his condition. We appreciate the support from the service, especially as I am the primary carer for Michael, sometimes you can feel as though you’re the only one doing it, but with the support of the service and carer groups I have been able to better care for Michael and he is much happier, which feels great.

Hilary Caskey - Diabetes Nurse Specialist said: "Telemonitoring has proven beneficial for us as professionals as it allows for more efficient use of our service. We can review more patients via telemonitoring in a given time period than if we were seeing them at clinic or on a home visit. This reduces travel time and costs for both the nurse and the patient. Telemonitoring will never replace face-to-face contact completely, but it can reduce the frequency of such encounters and provides a valuable support service for the on-going management of some patients with diabetes."