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Article from The Clarksville Leaf Chronicle; Jennifer Babich, author: Imagine a future where seniors and adults with disabilities can live independently, and yet still receive continuous medical care and activity monitoring in the comfort of a private cottage.
That’s the future that state lobbyist Bill Nolan says is coming to Clarksville.On Wednesday, Nolan’s Tennessee-based company, Connected Care Cottage, unveiled its first model home, along with plans to build a $5 million Veterans Village in Clarksville.
“This is an independent living solution that combines a 500-square foot cottage … with telemedicine,” said Nolan.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for many people,” said Deputy Governor Jim Henry, who was among the state leaders and public officials who attended the unveiling of the first-of-its-kind modular telemedically-connected home, built to house people who might otherwise require expensive home-based or assisted living center care.
The village, to be located on Arrowood Drive next to the new Tennessee State Veterans Home, will be made up of 48 cottages. Each cottage, which will come in three designs, will be a telemedically connected home available to qualified veterans on a monthly lease basis and able to provide real-time remote healthcare monitoring for residents.
Independent living solution
Bill Nolan discusses his Veterans Village concept at a news conference (Photo: Jennifer Babich)
Nolan calls it a “first-in-the-nation independent living solution,” which he has worked on for years, after being inspired by watching his own mother’s journey in her final years. He pointed out that had his family had an option like this at the time, they might never have needed to put their mom in an assisted living home.
Developers say sensors located throughout the cottages will deliver vital healthcare information to providers, caregivers and emergency personnel around the clock, tracking everything from sleep patterns to medicine dosages to the front door being opened.
It can provide medication and appointment reminders, connect residents with online chat rooms, and includes such features as heat sensors to determine if a stove-top burner has been left on too long.
It even allows for the monitoring of a patient’s chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure or even depression. Most importantly, it can connect to a nurse anytime.
“We have a call center of nurses available 24/7 … all there to help veterans and other residents transition to independent living,” said Juliette Simpson, whose company AllHealth Choice is behind the technology involved in these smart homes.
The technology is called Charlie. It’s described as a digital care management system that AllHealth Choice promotes as a cost-effective way to provide quality, customized health care.
“It provides access to telemedicine, tele-help, and access to nurses 24/7,” said Simpson, pointing out that their data shows it helps residents reduce the number of unnecessary ER trips and hospitalizations by up to 70 or 80 percent. They say their nurses follow protocol to ensure patient privacy and thus stay in compliance with HIPAA laws.
Juliette Simpson explains the technology behind the homes
Developers, veteran’s advocates and state leaders who attended Wednesday’s event say the technology-equipped cottages will fulfill a growing, unmet need in the state. It’s a need they say is particularly great in a veteran-heavy area like Clarksville.
“A village to house veterans in the shadow of the 101st Airborne Division is fitting and exciting,” said former national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars John Furgess.
“Connected Care Cottage is a concept whose time has come,” he said, pointing out the half-million Tennesseans that are veterans.
Nolan said Connected Care Cottage already has the financing in place for Veterans Village, along with an option on 20 acres adjoining the State Veteran’s Home to build the neighborhood. They’re now just awaiting regulatory approvals before they break ground on the village, which will include the 48 modular homes, a common area with a picnic shelter, and sidewalks throughout the neighborhood.