On the senior care side, adoption of smart home solutions is growing, and many of these platforms use voice and video. With the release of the Matter 1.0 standard from the Connectivity Standards Alliance — backed by Google, Amazon, Apple and others — it will become even easier for smart home and Internet of Things devices to be integrated, which will likely lead to further adoption.
Smart home devices allow older adults to maintain their independence and control their environments with less assistance. This frees up staff to focus on core tasks rather than going into residents’ rooms to change the temperature or turn a light on or off.
Longly suggests that senior care organizations looking to implement smart home technologies choose enterprise solutions that can be centrally managed so that caregiving staff, maintenance and others can have greater visibility into the organization’s smart home investments.
2. Virtual Reality Training Makes Caregivers More Empathetic
Virtual reality is being used for resident engagement and satisfaction, in memory care units to calm patients and decrease the use of anti-anxiety medications, and with caregivers to help them be more empathetic.
The virtual reality platform from Embodied Labs lets caregivers see the world through the eyes of their residents or patients, which can help them deliver better quality care. The platform also provides training and has a higher retention rate for learning, which helps caregivers learn faster and gain confidence on the job.
3. Mobility Tools Provide Efficient and Ergonomic Solutions for Staff
One way to retain employees and improve satisfaction is to consider staff wellness. Solutions such as ergonomic medical equipment can make a big difference in how caregivers and clinicians experience the day. Mobile workstations also make it easier for clinicians to document and treat patients at the point of care.
Other useful mobility tools include clinical communication and collaboration platforms, which make it easier for clinicians to communicate and escalate issues. Mobile devices paired with CC&C solutions can ensure that clinicians don’t miss important messages or risk miscommunication, which could lead to burnout and negatively affect patient outcomes.
When implementing different platforms and apps, Cramer explains that integration is critical.
“There are a lot of solutions that can automate clinical tasks, but if they don’t integrate with the EHR, staff members aren’t going to use them,” she says. “They can’t go to six different icons to gather information. Having integrated systems would mitigate staff shortages and increase staff efficiencies. They want to find the information in one spot rather than three or four different locations. There’s a lot of duplicative work staff have to do because of a lack of integration.”
Longly adds that having a single pane of glass for those integrations will improve workflows and help senior and post-acute care organizations retain staff.
4. Strong Connectivity Is Key to Supporting Senior Care Tech Initiatives
Many senior and post-acute care providers have Wi-Fi connectivity only in common areas or at nurse stations; in some instances, residents at senior care organizations are responsible for providing their own Wi-Fi.
“In a patient setting, if you don’t have connectivity in hallways and common areas, point-of-care documentation can’t be done in the patient room,” says Cramer. “That is affecting staff. They must go back to a certain area to complete their documentation rather than doing it at the point of care. When connectivity isn’t there, it’s going to decrease staff efficiency and increase staff frustration.”
Longly points out that most technology vendors assume senior and post-acute care organizations already have robust networking solutions in place to support technology implementations. Before starting a technology implementation, organizations should ensure they have the proper network infrastructure in place.
Technology partners with expertise and strong buying power such as CDW can help senior and post-acute care organizations upgrade their networks and account for future broadband needs when planning the upgrade.