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Perceptions of Acute Care Telemedicine Among Caregivers for Persons Living with Dementia: A Qualitative Study.

Chary A, Hernandez N, Rivera AP, Ramont V, Obi T, Santangelo I, Ritchie C, Singh H, Hayden E, Naik AD, Liu S, Kennedy M. Perceptions of Acute Care Telemedicine Among Caregivers for Persons Living with Dementia: A Qualitative Study. Journal of applied gerontology : the official journal of the Southern Gerontological Society. 2023 Sep 8; 7334648231198018.

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Persons living with dementia (PLWD) have high emergency department (ED) utilization. Little is known about using telemedicine with PLWD and caregivers as an alternative to ED visits for minor acute health problems. This qualitative interview-based study elicited caregivers' perspectives about the acceptability of telemedicine for acute complaints. We performed telephone interviews with 28 caregivers of PLWD from two academic EDs, one in the Northeast and another in the South. Using a combined deductive-inductive approach, we coded interview transcripts and elucidated common themes by consensus. All caregivers reported they would need to participate in the telemedicine visit to help overcome communication and digital literacy challenges. People from racial/ethnic minority groups reported lower comfort with the virtual format. In both sites, participants expressed uncertainty about illness severity that could preclude using telemedicine for acute complaints. Overall, respondents deemed acute care telemedicine acceptable, but caregivers describe specific roles as crucial intermediaries to facilitate virtual care.

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