Time is a precious commodity for Navy Veteran Rosie Glenn. Telehealth helps.
Glenn is the primary caregiver and home-school teacher for her teenage son, who has a disability. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Glenn started meeting with her VA providers through VA Video Connect, VA’s secure videoconferencing app. She then realized just how much time it saved her family.
“It’s better for me because it’s better for my son,” Glenn said. “When you’re the parent of a special needs child—especially a teenager—you don’t have a lot of time. Using telehealth, my appointments take 30 minutes out of my day instead of the one to three hours.”
Maintaining her son’s schedule
For Glenn, telehealth isn’t just about convenience. It also enables her to better maintain her son’s daily schedule.
“I can schedule my appointment around his lunch break. And it doesn’t turn into a three-hour break because I have to go to the office for an appointment. Before, we’d have to make up the time we missed during the day with schooling at night. And it wasn’t fair to him to be doing schoolwork so late,” she said.
Glenn faced other challenges when she left the house during the school day for an in-person visit. When I go to in-person appointments, I have to make sure someone’s at the house with my son. And even with someone there, he usually calls me multiple times during the appointment.
Disruptions to the daily schedule can be stressful for both Glenn and her son.
“With a telehealth appointment, I can just tell him I have an appointment and shut the door,” she said. “It’s awesome because it gives him a sense of security knowing I’m just behind the other side of the door.”
Realizing the value
Glenn had used telehealth before the pandemic. But as a person who “loves being around people,” she didn’t immediately see the benefit. Now she uses video telehealth visits as much as possible, for everything from a rash to regular checkups.
She also uses My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, to send secure messages to her VA providers.
When her VA provider requests vitals or lab tests, Glenn goes to a local non-VA clinic and then sends the results to her provider through My HealtheVet’s Secure Messaging feature. This saves her the long drive to her VA facility which can be especially difficult during Minnesota winters.
“It’s awesome because now I have more free time in my day. I don’t know why I didn’t start using telehealth sooner.”
To learn more, visit the VA Telehealth Services website.