Assessing elderly patients with congestive heart failure via in-home interactive telecommunication

J Gerontol Nurs. 2001 Jan;27(1):21-7. doi: 10.3928/0098-9134-20010101-09.


The efficacy of telemedicine technology was tested for equivalence of nursing assessment with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) home care patients (N = 28). The equivalence of nurses' physical assessment findings was estimated using an innovative two-way, telemedicine audiovisual system. Nurses were randomly assigned to a method of client assessment: on-site (real time) or telemedicine (monitor time). Each assessment was performed within 10 minutes of each other. Assessment variables compared were auscultation of lung sounds, heart sounds, rate and rhythm, blood pressure, weight, edema, respiratory effort, and client's face, lip, and nail color. Eighteen physiological parameters were analyzed, using either the Wilcoxon signed ranks test or the McNemar test. Results indicate few significant differences between the assessments of the real time and monitor time nurses. The monitor nurse was more likely to claim abnormality than the real nurse was when assessing the color of nails (p = .048). The real nurse picked up ankle edema (p = .024), pedal edema (p = .099), and inspiratory wheeze (p = .01) more frequently than did the monitor nurse. Kappa coefficients to determine the extent of agreement between nurse's assessments were significant. Nurses' comments were favorable, but they recommended altering the interview to elicit symptoms not easily observed by the monitor nurse such as diaphoresis. Exit interviews of the elderly patients revealed a favorable reaction to using the telemedicine monitor, citing a quick connection to a nurse and response to their concerns and questions. Both nurses and patients reported the need to have real nurse home visits along with telemedicine visits.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / nursing*
  • Home Care Services, Hospital-Based*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Assessment*
  • Remote Consultation*