The question “How do you sleep at night?” sheds its moral overtone in favor of one defined by healthcare under the following scenario.
One gets into his or her bed, plugs in the CPAP machine that keeps them breathing soundly throughout the night. They look to the power outlet into which the machine is plugged and think about what may happen in the event of a power outage. San Antonio’s seen many in recent years, and they come without warning.
Time to keep the lights on and get out of bed.
Nobody has time to prepare for an in-home health care crisis until it happens. When the crisis comes, the clock strikes 13, and we wish we had bought that roadside emergency kit, fire extinguisher, or source of solar backup power for our homes.
Over the past century, the greater San Antonio area has faced a medley of electricity supply-disrupting disasters, from floods to hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. These disruptions are not any fault on local utility companies – they’re simply things over which power companies have little control.
The solution is to focus on what the San Antonio citizenry can do to prepare for these crises and in the context of not just staying alive, but improving our quality of life.
It has been found that Texas has over 2 hrs of power outage per year. Which is slightly higher than the national average. This may not seem like a lot over the course of a year, but when your power is out for a couple minutes or more, it could mean life or death for someone relying on in-home medical equipment, which functions from a power source like a standard electrical outlet.
Natural disasters and weather hazards are a couple of the reasons San Antonio gets disconnected from the grid. Without solar power that offers a secure power supply, energy backup, and storage, e.g., a Tesla Powerwall, these incidents can cause a greater number of in-home health care issues, particularly among the San Antonio population.
San Antonio & In-home Healthcare Stats: A Need for Solar Backup and Storage
As healthcare costs rise, residents, and understandably so, take healthcare into their own hands and within their own homes. Consequently, San Antonio residents increasingly relying on web-based research to inform self-prescribed treatment plans, and rely on family members to provide out-of-the-hospital care. The unintended consequence of this course of action, given San Antonio’s susceptibility to grid-disrupting outages, is an inability to power in-home medical equipment, such as CPAP machines for sleep apnea.
Not all medical supplies need emergency power backup sources, but many do. Some of these devices include oxygen, home dialysis equipment, power wheelchairs and scooters, and breathing machines. Emergency power planning is vital for individuals that rely on these devices.
What’s more, San Antonio comprises nearly 10 percent of the Texas population, and the Lone Star State is ranked 49th out of 50 in the United States for health care affordability, and 50th in health insurance enrollment. The 2016 US News and World Report showed that 19.6 percent of Texans between 18 and 64 were uninsured. Today, this rate has increased, and when the individual mandate for coverage gets removed the rate of uninsured will most likely continue to rise.
Under these conditions, the term “outpatient care” acquires a more literal meaning, as a greater portion of healthcare becomes not just outpatient, but at-home care, and not administered by licensed clinicians, nurses, or rehabilitative specialists. Even when contract nurses or certified personnel visit residences, they cannot immediately retrofit the standard home into the power-supplying force of a regular hospital or emergency room. Add these conditions to the access to remote care, and we have a citizenry striving, more and more every day, to take care of its own healthcare issues.
At-Home Healthcare Facilitators for San Antonio Residents
The main course of action that many have taken is at-home care. With the help of devices and technology that was once only used in medical facilities, in-home care has blossomed but must be understood in the context of power continuity, which secure power sources from solar power can provide to San Antonio residents. This is especially important because, as noted above, those power outages are more likely to strike San Antonio than any other area in the southwest.
Online Research and Treatment Remedies in the Solar Power Context
Websites such as webicina.com, smartpatients.com, medalineplus.gov, drugs.com, iodine.com, and health.gov/nhic/ help patients diagnose and determine treatment. Using these resources to help save money while learning about how to maintain one’s health is great, but can be dangerous if access to a secure power source and withdrawable power is disrupted in the event of a power outage.
Other San Antonio Trends Growing In-Home Healthcare
Video conferencing is starting to be used in a number of ways within telemedicine. It has been used to help local doctors get a second opinion and for training within the medical field. Mobile health is covered by certain insurance providers. But the price of a mobile visit is less than a conventional doctors visit and, therefore, is a more affordable option for those without health insurance.
In-Home Healthcare Energy Needs: The Solar Backup and Storage Solution
The problem with at-home care is that many people need medical devices that require electricity to run. This means if there is a power outage, and you don’t have a backup power source, the at-home healthcare device will no longer work. If your medical device doesn’t need constant power or is used infrequently, a power outage that causes medical harm isn’t as likely.
If, however, you need the device to function, losing access to your power supply can be deadly, especially if it occurs at night as it would for devices used during nighttime, such as CPAP machines for sleep apnea. This is where solar power can save the day. Although on its own solar only provides power when the sun is out, solar backup in the form of a secure power supply coupled with adequate storage can remedy this.
Nobody with a clean conscience should have to worry about how they’re going to sleep at night. That’s just one of the many things solar power puts in its proper place, throughout whatever chaos may come.
Scott Cramer is President of Go Solar Group, a San Antonio Solar Company.