As technology ingrains itself further and further into all aspects of the healthcare industry, senior living facilities stand to benefit immensely from technology specifically targeted for them. Spurred by a combination of market forces and some legislation, the breadth of technologies designed for senior living has increased at an astounding rate. With so much choice on the market, what senior living technology do facilities actually need? Here we explore some of the technologies that will benefit senior living facilities the most.
Fall Prevention and Detection
Senior falls account for nearly 800,000 hospital visits each year, and are a $30 billion healthcare expense. They are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury in the elderly, and are a legitimate health concern among those aged 65 and over. New senior living technology has greatly improved fall prevention and detection systems across the board. While best practices for preventing falls are still the most effective means to prevent falls, there are now apps to help detect possible risk factors. Additionally, there are technologies that make use of complex algorithms that can detect falls and send an alert through a dedicated telecommunications layer. This allows fall detection to take place within a facility and outside of it as well. Most of these technologies require residents to wear some kind of necklace, wrist band, or anklet to monitor their activity.
Managing medications can be a laborious task for staff and residents. This is why much of the new senior living technology has emerged to help streamline the process of medication management. Most of these technologies are actually part of applications that manage a variety of other tasks, including setting reminders for meals, social events, bandage changes, healthcare visits, among others. Medication management does not need to be a chore, and with that in mind senior living facilities should explore the technologies available to them to help with this task.
Resident Locating Technology
Resident locating technology is essential for residents with certain conditions. Knowing where residents are at all times helps prevent problems, and can greatly reduce response times from staff if a problem should arise. These can be used both within a facility and without. Using a robust telecommunications layer, resident locating technology is an effective tool for maintaining ample control over the senior living environment. This senior living technology can and should be coupled with wander management systems to ensure seniors prone to wandering stay safe.
Wander Management Systems
Nothing will make a team of senior living staff fret more than a wandering resident. It is common for seniors with various forms of dementia to wander aimlessly. Hence, it is important for senior living facilities to monitor such residents with wander management systems. Recent advances in technology have made these systems far more robust than ever before, giving staff, administrators, and families the peace of mind that residents will not go wandering into the night.
Telehealth encompasses a variety of services that make use of telecommunications technologies to conduct health checks and other light health services. These are used to give patients better access to their physicians without the need for a house call. This saves time and money for both parties, and allows residents to monitor chronic health issues and have the peace of mind of speaking with a primary care physician. Telehealth is not telemedicine, meaning these technologies are not intended for diagnosing or curing health problems. They are instead used as precursory and ongoing health checkups to assess if further action is needed. These technologies generally include a suite of services designed to address a wide breadth of healthcare services and to assist residents and staff in taking appropriate action for specific conditions.
Voice services for senior living
Residents will want to have access to telecommunications technologies to maintain contact with their loved ones. Most senior living facilities continue to use outdated telecommunications technology that is both inefficient and costly. New technology, including hosted PBX and cloud communication, can greatly improve communication between residents and their families, families and staff, staff and residents, and staff with staff. Improving the efficiency and efficacy of internal and external voice services should be a top priority for senior living facilities. Voice services for senior living facilities does not have to be costly, either. They can make use of existing infrastructure, or migrate services entirely to the internet, often with no upfront costs.