How Does Technology Fit With Nursing Homes?
When it comes to nursing homes, Americans may not have the most positive opinion. In fact, only 19 percent of Americans believe that nursing homes make seniors better off. This remarkably low number may be derived from a myriad of reasons. Perhaps some Americans are just ignorant of the care nursing homes provide. In contrast, others may have had a few unpleasant experiences, and others are just basing their opinions on the outdated stigma of nursing homes. Whatever the reason, nursing homes must do better to increase the satisfaction and reputation because 1 in 3 people will need nursing home care at some point in their lifetime. By 2034, it is estimated that the number of seniors will outnumber children for the first time in United States history. Many current residents have no choice but to move to nurse homes. On average, these residents receive more than 4 hours of personalized care a day, with most of them needing help performing at least 2 daily tasks. This level of work takes a toll on the staff of nursing homes as well as the residents. The Wayne Center is introducing new healthcare technology to improve the level of care residents receive while also alleviating the pressure on nursing home employees.Photo by on Pexels
The Pandemic Has Been Hardest Hit in Nursing Homes
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult in nursing homes. In the U.S., nursing home staff and residents have made up nearly 25 percent of coronavirus deaths. Outbreaks among nursing homes are not directly connected to resident demographics or even local infection rates. Instead, the quality of nursing homes is the leading variable in coronavirus outbreaks. Compared to 1 Star facilities, 2-3 Star facilities have an 87 percent lower risk of an outbreak, and 4-5 Star facilities have a 94 percent lower risk. During the pandemic, residents have been transferred to contain outbreaks, quarantined to their rooms, and prevented from seeing outside visitors. While necessary precautions, these make nursing home life increasingly difficult for the residents and staff. Before the pandemic, 55 percent of nursing home residents said they did not see their families enough. Whether that was due to outside or inside influences is of no consequence. Residents were already feeling a sense of social isolation, and this time away from their families has certainly not helped. However, the necessary isolation must be balanced with physical stimulation and social contact.
Social Isolation: The Loneliness Epidemic and What Can Be Done
The issue of social isolation is substantial in nursing homes. For most people, nursing homes are a last resort. Some older adults cannot take care of themselves, and others lack the resources to pursue other options. Medicare spends $6.7 billion a year on seniors who lack the proper support system outside of the nursing home. Moving away from friends, family, and daily routines led to depression in 40 percent of seniors. This is an alarming rate that is only magnified by the large increases in health risks caused by depression. Loneliness increases mortality by 400 percent and hospitalization by 68 percent, among multiple other dangerous health risks. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, visits from loved ones are seldom. That is why the Aiva Voice Assistant was created. Some of the advanced technology is difficult to understand and navigate for the elderly. The Aiva Voice Assistant is easy to use and connects directly to smart speakers. From there, residents can communicate easily with family members, friends, and caregivers while maintaining social distancing. These advances lower the chances of depression and help patients mentally recover and gain a sense of independence.Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash
Technology to Improve the Lives of Elder Care Patients
The technology that has been put into use goes far beyond this, though. The cutting-edge healthcare that has been introduced to nursing homes is truly remarkable. Their technology is directed at helping patients recover physically and mentally, regain independence, and return home. The VOCSN Ventilator is the only multifunction ventilator available on the market. The device combines ventilator, oxygen, suction, nebulizer, and cough functions into one to allow for easy use outside of a hospital. The device is small, easy to carry, and holds a 9-hour charge with batteries. The quiet, gentle breathing therapy makes for a straightforward transition from hospital care to nursing home care.
Another breakthrough is the introduction of the Solo-Step rehabilitation harness. The main goal of the harness is to restore independent mobility, but it accomplishes that goal differently than usual physical therapy.
The Solo-Step builds confidence and pushes the patient to reach their next goal. By eliminating the fear of falling and injuring themselves, the harness pushes patients to challenge their mental and physical limitations. The patients who use Solo-Step have attained measurable results in a significantly less amount of time. Allowing the patient to act on their own schedule and set their own limits makes them feel independent. The Wayne Center’s full lineup of trailblazing technology can be seen here.
The future technology of nursing homes is what sets the best nursing homes apart. As more and more technologies become available, healthcare will be more readily accessible to the elderly. Multiple devices that would benefit society’s most vulnerable age group, seniors. Neuro Rehab VR is designed to aid in a patient’s recovery from stroke or other traumatic brain injuries. By mapping the brain, a physical therapy program can be customizable to each patient’s needs. Personalized care motivates patients to recover faster. The Lifesprk: Electronic Life Record is developed using several algorithms based on social, economic, and health factors. Lifesprk then analyzes individual medical records and profiles to create a predictive model. From here, Lifesprk can then provide preventative, in-home care. This device, along with others, seeks to prevent injury just as much as they do heal an injury.
The goal is to instill a sense of independence, environment, community, collaboration, and improvement into nursing home care is truly remarkable. They are trailblazing a path centered around caring and technology that all nursing homes should follow to improve the quality of life for the elderly. Innovation will continue to lead the way for people of all ages.