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Madison Salvation Army shelters offer 24/7 access to telehealth services

The Salvation Army offers 24/7 access to nurses in its women’s and family shelters in Madison, starting May 10th.
Updated: May. 15, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Salvation Army offers 24/7 access to nurses in its women’s and family shelters in Madison, starting May 10th. The organization is partnering with Nurse Disrupted for the telehealth tech and Conduit Health Partners for remote nurses to give around-the-clock health care to guests.

“So we partnered with nurse disrupted about two years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Salvation Army Executive Director of Social Services Melissa Sorensen. “During that time, oftentimes some of the guests would say, ‘Oh can I talk to them about this,’ or, ‘My kid has this rash can we talk about this,’ now it has developed into having those 24-hour nursing lines.”

Two years ago, the system was set up to help staff screen for COVID-19, helping efficiently decide if people could stay at a shelter or need to be quarantined or even, depending on their symptoms, hospitalized. Nurse Disrupted founder Bre Loughlin says the system worked so well in Wisconsin that it helped prevent 1,250 emergency room visits since the pandemic started. Loughlin says people they polled appreciated the privacy and access to nurses.

“96% of people who used the kiosk over the past two years felt that their privacy was protected, and it expanded access to health care for them,” said Loughlin.

The kiosk is in a private room. The touch-pad offers a description of the privacy policy before calling one of the eight nurses from Conduit assigned to the Salvation Army. The nurses determine what ails the patient via video chat and the best course of action for the patient.

“It takes a really strong nursing competency to remotely look at a patient, talk with a patient, really get to the root of what the issue is, and then appropriately direct them to care,” said Conduit president Cheryl Dalton-Norman.

Sorensen says the service is free to residents and paid for with grants from the city and state and COVID relief funds.

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