Foundation’s generosity could save lives

Greater Lee’s Summit Healthcare Foundation grant gives John Knox Village new health monitoring systems

acannon@lsjournal.comAugust 7, 2014 

Back in January, the Greater Lee’s Summit Healthcare Foundation approved a grant to potentially save lives at John Knox Village.

In October of 2013, JKV submitted a grant request of $20,000 to implement wireless health monitor systems in the homes of patients who were recently discharged from the hospital or are know to have potentially debilitating illnesses. The GLSHF approved the grant in late January.

The money freed up JKV to purchase 20 Honeywell HomHealth TeleHealth systems. All 20 of those systems are currently in use in the homes of JKV patients.

The TeleHealth system transmits a patient’s vitals (weight, blood pressure, blood oxygen level, etc.) back to a central location where a trained nurse monitors them. JKV already used TeleHealth in each of its on-campus homes, but those systems require a telephone landline to operate.

With more and more of its off-campus patients abandoning the traditional landline for cell phones, JKV had to find a way to monitor them without the landline-dependent system. Enter, the wireless-capable TeleHealth system.

Have the new systems made any difference in the treatment of patients? “Absolutely. No question,” said JKV Vice President of Health and Community Services Rodney McBride.

Without the TeleHealth system, McBride explained, a nurse would have to visit the patient around three times a week to check vital signs. If anything potentially harmful happened when the nurse wasn’t present, no medical professional would be available to react and consult the patient.

With TeleHealth, the transmissions from the in-home monitor are sent to the nurse who makes sure everything is within the normal scope.

“If there is a significant change outside parameters, the nurse will call,” McBride said.

In McBride’s example, the TeleHealth system could indicate a patient’s significant weight gain in a short period of time. If the person is a cardiology patient, the increase in poundage could mean the lungs are filling with fluid, leading to possible congestive heart failure. If something like that were to happen, the TeleHealth nurse would call the individual and then decide whether to call an on-site nurse, the patient’s physician or, if absolutely necessary, emergency personnel.

“The point is: The information is available on a daily basis,” McBride said.

The monitoring systems are designed to indicate anything potentially harmful, limiting the unexpected as much as possible.

In total, JKV serves around 2,000 seniors on campus and more than 3,000 additional seniors in and around Lee’s Summit. It provides home health services for approximately 1,870 seniors both on campus and in the community.

Gail Benne, the president of the John Knox Village Foundation, submitted the grant request to the GLSHF and is encouraged by the formation of a partnership between the two organizations.

“This is the second year the Greater Lee’s Summit Healthcare Foundation has funded us,” Benne said. “We’re extremely appreciative of that because of our partnership and what we do out in the community.”

In September of 2013, the GLSHF granted JKV $15,000 to assist with the purchase of a new, state-of-the-art ambulance.

The GLSHF is dedicated to promoting health and well being in the Lee’s Summit area, partnering with organizations like Lee’s Summit Medical Center and TMC Lakewood. It provides grants to organizations conducting health-related projects like training programs and health services (like the TeleHealth monitors). The Foundation also distributes scholarships of up to $5,000 to aspiring medical professionals.

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