With a rapidly growing population of those aged 65 years and over (expected to peak at 22% by 2041*) the demand for digital applications within an aged care setting will continue to intensify over the coming decade.
We are seeing a digital inclusion trend within the age care environment. There is good reason for this as providers reap the benefits of significant cost and time-savings, and provide a more person-centered approach to care services.
Installing a secure and easy-to-use Wi-Fi solution is fundamental to ensuring the speed, quality, connectivity and performance of the service. It is the first step to opening the doors to new efficient technological solutions specifically designed for the aged care industry. These solutions will revolutionise and continue to improve the provision of care.
What could you achieve from a secure and easy-to-use Wi-Fi solution?
- Access to resident records anytime, anywhere, with real time data. Replacing old paper clinical records with an online system, which automatically updates records from a healthcare professional, or care provider’s mobile device or directly from hospital records. Dramatically reducing the administrative burden and freeing up more time to spend with residents.
- Automated reminder message(s) specific to individual care plans can be scheduled and sent to a carer’s or resident’s mobile, pager device or in-house TV system.
- Check vital signs, blood sugar levels and heart rate in real time through the use of Wi-Fi enabled blood pressure monitors and pulse checkers that automatically populate clinical management records. Wi-Fi enabled fit-bits can add to health checking by automatically downloading a resident’s activity to a record management system for hourly checks.
- Medicine supply and disposal can easily be managed by updating records instantly from an in-room mobile device. When a resident is relocated there can be a smooth transfer of medication charts ensuring improved continuity of care.
- Nurse call systems linked over a Wi-Fi network can be given to residents as a bracelet or pendant which can easily be activated anytime anywhere. There is also the option of adding a GPS tracker to note a resident’s location, which can improve security. An alarm can be initiated if a resident, who is unable to make the decision for themselves was to leave the premises without consent.
- A unified approach to working can be achieved by combining previously isolated processes. Integrating phone, water, nurse call, fire alarm, lighting, building security and lift access into one centralised system, makes it is easier to monitor and prevent any safety or security breaches. For example, if the shower has been on in a resident’s bathroom for more than a specified amount of time, an alert will be sent through the system. The stored data for that room can identify whether this is unusual activity and automatically locate and notify the nearest carer and if needed, turn off the water supply.
- Devices such as dishwashers, fridges, washing machines and kettles are being developed with Wi-Fi functionality. It will become possible to remotely activate them and have status updates to notify staff of their status. For example; fridges are set to inform us of out of date food or a shortage of milk. It is only a matter of time before an application linking to online shopping stores, automatically orders required food and delivers the shopping as needed.
- I-touch flooring enabled by Wi-Fi is under trial at a Benetas Aged Care home to monitor resident falls. The under floor sensors in each bedroom detect when residents fall and alert staff. This feature will give residents and their families peace of mind.
- Simavita, an Australian company that has developed an innovative world first Wi-Fi enabled medical device for urinary incontinence assessment and management, enables care providers and other institutions to significantly lower their material costs and reduce the time required to manage incontinence.
- Indoor map applications can easily be used to direct visitors to residents/services. Mobile mapping applications can also discern user behaviour to inform how visitors have used a site. “From the aged care facility perspective, it is about providing the best care and the best service; that is the impression you are giving to people who are visiting as well as people that are moving into the facilities,” says Ms Barker from Mapdata services” (Australianageingagenda.com.au)
- Research has commenced in to the use and viability of robots within the care industry. Robots, or cobots as they are more commonly known are being developed in variety of forms. Griffin University is trialling pet style robots that have been developed to stimulate dementia patients. Zora a humanised robot has been designed to teach physical exercise, health and nutrition. Cobots can be monitored and directed through a Wi-Fi connection.
- Residents can benefit through reduced isolation by keeping up-to-date with news, current topics, playing their choice of music and games, and connecting with family and friends via communication applications such as Skype, Viber, Whatsapp or Facebook. Some homes run games via video conferencing, connecting residents in different locations.
Competition within the aged care industry is continually intensifying. Differentiating your service offering and delivering a first class personalised resident service that increases client and staff satisfaction is paramount. Innovative tech companies like NetWireless is a WiFi specialists for business that provide Wi-Fi platforms that allow improved care and reduce associated costs to providers.
*(ABS. 2011 Cat 3101.0)” Griffin University, 2016).