Helping Mr. Holmes: How RPM Can Revolutionize Care for Elderly Dementia Patients

Medically Reviewed By: Dr Gideon Kwok

Image Credit: Microsoft Designer

Key Takeaways

  • Enhanced Continuous Monitoring: RPM allows for 24/7 monitoring of dementia patients like Mr. Holmes, ensuring their safety and enabling timely interventions. This continuous observation is crucial for managing fluctuating cognitive states and preventing acute health events.
  • Early Detection and Personalized Care: RPM facilitates the early detection of health changes, allowing healthcare providers to intervene promptly. Personalized care plans can be developed based on real-time data, ensuring treatment is tailored to the patient's unique needs, improving outcomes and patient satisfaction.
  • Support for Caregivers and Cost-Effective Care: RPM technology not only reduces the burden on caregivers by automating tasks and providing peace of mind, but it also contributes to lowering healthcare costs. By preventing hospital readmissions and enabling proactive care, RPM offers a financially sustainable model for long-term dementia care.

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When you’re watching an episode ofSherlock Holmes or reading one of the books, you can’t help but marvel at the extremely sharp intellect on display, the prodigious memory, the ability to piece together mental mosaics from seemingly disjointed pieces of information. And I can bet you never even bother to imagine what would happen if Holmes were to lose his faculties of memory and abstract thinking; how paralyzing that would be. And in “Mr. Holmes”, Ian McKellen showed us just that. Despite the efforts of Laura Linney – as his caregiver Mrs. Munro – he is unable to remember times, places, things, people. I don’t know about you, but I did catch myself wondering what if he had a gadget or device that could just remind him of what he was looking for. Now wouldn’t that be neat?

Oh, it would; believe me it would. And Remote patient monitoring (RPM) just might be able to do that for Mr Holmes. It is a healthcare delivery method that uses the latest advances in information technology to gather patient data outside of traditional healthcare settings, such as from Mr. Holmes in his rural home away from busy London. While this can include a variety of health indicators such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels, where RPM has the potential to shine the brightest is in the management of chronic diseases, post-operative care, and primary care, making it an innovative solution for the elderly with dementia. Here’s how RPM can transform the care paradigm for dementia patients like our fictitious hero Mr. Holmes.

Enhancing Continuity of Care

In one significant sequence, Mrs. Munro has to go to the village and leaves her son in Mr. Holmes’s care who, simply, forgets to watch over him. If Mrs. Munro had RPM access, she would be able to monitor Mr. Holmes continuously and remind him to make sure her son doesn’t go near the wasps. Dementia patients often require consistent observation due to their fluctuating cognitive status and potential for rapid health changes. With RPM support, healthcare providers can track the patient’s health data on a regular basis, facilitating timely interventions before an acute event occurs.

Early Detection and Intervention

Dementia can affect various aspects of health, and early signs of complications are often missed before they are unexpected and therefore hard to notice. By sending in a regular stream of data, RPM allows the healthcare provider to become aware of subtle changes – such as the early detection of issues such as urinary tract infections, dehydration, or changes in mobility – that can allow them to put together the pieces of the puzzle much earlier and catch dementia in its early onset. By identifying these problems early, the healthcare provider can then intervene promptly, thus preventing hospital readmissions and improving patient outcomes.

Personalized Care Plans

Data that reflects the patient’s real-world daily activities and challenges can be picked up by RPM technology and can be used in the development of personalized care plans tailored to the individual needs of the patient, ensuring that care is as effective and appropriate as possible.

Medication Management

One of the biggest challenges for dementia patients is being able to follow their medication schedules properly. RPM can include medication dispensers that alert patients when it’s time to take their medication and also notify caregivers if a dose is missed. This can prove to be crucial to maintaining the therapeutic effectiveness of medications and preventing complications from missed doses.

Enhanced Safety and Security

RPM devices can include motion sensors, cameras, and wearable technology that alert caregivers to potential safety risks, such as falls or wandering, which are common concerns in dementia care. These devices can also help ensure that patients are eating regularly and maintaining their personal hygiene.

Support for Caregivers

My student counselor once said: who takes care of the care-giver? Often, no one. The responsibility of caring for a patient with dementia is often left to a close relative who, howsoever dedicated, is not professionally trained to take on its stresses and challenges. RPM can help reduce the burden on caregivers by automating certain tasks and providing peace of mind that the patient is being monitored continuously; the caregiver can then get a much needed break. RPM platforms can also be used to provide education and support to caregivers to help them discharge their responsibilities more successfully.

Data-Driven Insights

The data collected through RPM can be analyzed for insights into the progression of the patient’s dementia and the effectiveness of treatments. Over time, this data can contribute to a deeper understanding of dementia and inform the broader medical community on best practices for managing the condition.

Reducing Healthcare Costs

By preventing hospital readmissions and enabling proactive care, RPM can significantly reduce healthcare costs associated with dementia care. This is beneficial not only for patients and their families but also for healthcare systems and payers.

Challenges and Considerations

While RPM offers numerous benefits, there are also challenges that need to be addressed:

Privacy and Security: As always, any digital platform is susceptible to breaches by malicious actors. It is imperative to ensure the security of patient data and to comply with health privacy regulations.
Technology Adoption: Some elderly patients may be resistant to using new technologies, and will need additional training and support for them to become comfortable with them.
Access and Equity: In healthcare, there is no concept that “everyone is human; but some are more human than others”. In any humane and self-respecting society, all patients, regardless of socioeconomic status, ought to have access to RPM technologies.


RPM has the potential to revolutionize care for elderly dementia patients by providing continuous, personalized, and proactive care. By embracing this technology, healthcare providers can improve the quality of life for dementia patients and their caregivers while also reducing the strain on our healthcare systems. However, for RPM to reach its full potential, the challenges of implementation must be effectively addressed through patient education, robust data security measures, and equitable access to technology

Want to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of primary care?

MarkiTech.AI is a team of over 50 software engineers, data scientists and clinicians plus other health practitioners who have developed over 40 digital health solutions in the last 10 years such as SenSights.AI, and which focus on helping older adults and their caregivers like family, physicians, nurses etc., age in place, reduce costs and improve revenue opportunities.