As technology advances, there’s every reason to believe that at some point in the future part of this century our own homes will be the place that the majority chooses to receive a clinical diagnosis, give birth, or even receive treatment.
In the case of giving birth, the statistics are kinda surprising. Maybe it’s because we’ve become so accustomed to the idea of the hospital as be-all-and-end-all health hub, that alternatives aren’t considered or explored nearly as much as they should. The birth statistic that surprised me was this: “the risk of severe complications [was found to be] one in 1,000 for home births and 2.3 in 1,000 for hospital births”.This was from a study in the Netherlands whose results were published last year. (BBC news report on the study here).
Telecare and telehealth systems are at the moment quite specialised and used only for a fairly narrow set of specific circumstances. Telecare include things motion sensors that make life easier for elderly people – automatically switching off lights, or raising an alarm if someone hasn’t returned to bed after getting up during the night. Telehealth is the armoury of equipment people can use in the home to get blood pressure readings, and stuff like that. “The remote monitoring of physiological data” as the RCN website describes it.
As much as hospitals are a wonder of modern science and something that society should be immensely thankful for (and proud of!) they’re still pretty much not the place anyone wants to have to go. So the more treatment that devolves through technology to the home, the better.
An article in The Telegraph by Dr Harry Wallop even goes as far as to sing the praises of some home remedies – among them:
- Ginger really can help with a case of motion sickness
- Parsley does neutralise bad breath (down to chlorophyll content, apparently)
- Duct tape can ‘cure’ verrucas
Now, I don’t swear by any home remedies myself – but one trick I have found is the following. Get the cheapest antiperspirant you can find (supermarket value range should be around 40p for 200 mils). Spray it into your shoes before and after you wear them. Hey presto – fresh feet pretty much all day, every day. Now if I gave these ultra-inexpensive antiperspirants a fancy name and a new packaging, would I make a fortune? Stranger things have happened.