The COVID-19 pandemic elevated telehealth as a prevalent care delivery modality for older adults. However, guidelines and best practices for the provision of healthcare via telehealth are lacking. Principles and guidelines are needed to ensure that telehealth is safe, effective, and equitable for older adults. The Collaborative for Telehealth and Aging (C4TA) composed of providers, experts in geriatrics, telehealth, and advocacy, developed principles and guidelines for delivering telehealth to older adults. Using a modified Delphi process, C4TA members identified three principles and 18 guidelines.
First, care should be person-centered; telehealth programs should be designed to meet the needs and preferences of older adults by considering their goals, family and caregivers, linguistic characteristics, and readiness and ability to use technology. Second, care should be equitable and accessible; telehealth programs should address individual and systemic barriers to care for older adults by considering issues of equity and access. Third, care should be integrated and coordinated across systems and people; telehealth should limit fragmentation, improve data sharing, increase communication across stakeholders, and address both workforce and financial sustainability. C4TA members have diverse perspectives and expertise but a shared commitment to improving older adults’ lives. C4TA’s recommendations highlight older adults’ needs and create a roadmap for providers and health systems to take actionable steps to reach them. The next steps include developing implementation strategies, documenting current telehealth practices with older adults, and creating a community to support the dissemination, implementation, and evaluation of the recommendations.