The Hobbs were traveling to the VA Medical Center in Clarksburg at least once a week for checkups, but that's stopped since Herbie started using the VA's Care Coordination Home Telehealth system. The system is for veterans who have to visit the ER or VA hospital often with heart problems, diabetes or high blood pressure.
"He has to get on the scales every morning when he gets up. And we weigh him and do his blood pressure," said Hobbs.
The Hobbs also answer a variety of health questions on the Telehealth machine, and then the information is sent to the VA electronically. When CCHT nurses log into the system each morning, the patients are color coded, based on the seriousness of the Telehealth information received. The nurses forward the information to VA doctors, who decide whether a change in medication or a hospital visit is necessary. After that, the nurses call the Telehealth patients with results.
"You're getting immediate results back to that patient. They're not worrying all day. 'What should I do? What should I do?' Within minutes usually we can get back with them and tell them what's going on," said Paul Zickefoose, a CCHT RN.
"It's great. You don't feel alone. You don't feel like you're doing it all by yourself," said Hobbs.
The VA Medical Center also offers similar programs for those with eye, skin and mental health conditions, called Teleretnal, Telederm and Telementalhealth. For more information on those programs, you can call the VA at 304-623-3461.