Residents in assisted living facilities around the world have seen quite a bit during their lifetimes. They lived through wars, have seen humans walk on the moon and even may have seen their grandchildren have children of their own. Comparing the lives of these individuals as youths to modern-day is quite the change. Throughout this time technology has been on the upswing and only gets more advanced by every passing day. These men and women never really relied on technology for the majority of their lives, but now they find themselves in a position where technology can not only improve their lives, but extend them.
In today’s world, everything is intertwined by technology and everyone needs some sort of computer knowledge, no matter how old or even how young the person may be. The reality is that many elderly men and women have been retired for quite some time and are now residents in retirement homes and assisted living communities. Within this post-retirement time span, many seniors surprisingly have their own fair share of knowledge when it comes to technology. With the senior citizens who aren’t computer savvy, many retirement communities offer web-based education now to further enhance the experience of all their residents. For example, many Grandmothers and Grandfathers are staying in touch with their Grandchildren using e-mail, Facebook and other internet based methods of communication. The uses of newer technologies, such as tablets are becoming more and more popular in senior living communities. Scheduling is often an issue when trying to visit Grandma or Grandpa in an assisted living facility; this is where video chatting can become very useful. Having this access and connection to family and loved ones actually makes senior living more appealing, giving residents a homier atmosphere knowing their families and loved ones aren’t as far away as they initially believed. These residents are not only more connected to the outside world, but they are also more connected than ever to staff members within these communities which is extremely important.
Many assisted living communities have also begun using monitoring systems that can detect emergencies with the use of real-time sensors. These sensors, placed all around a resident’s living quarters are designed to detect movement and activity, or in some cases lack thereof. These sensors, for example, can detect when a resident enters his or her bathroom and just how much time they are spending inside. The purpose of these sensors is to detect unusual activity to warrant a visit from facility staff. In the event of an accident or emergency, these sensors can prompt a response much quicker. More advanced monitoring systems are also available, for example to track vital signs of residents.
Many assisted living communities give the residents the option to leave during specified hours. These residents can go for walks, go to the store, etc. Given the age of some of these residents, many might get lost, forget where they’re going or forget their way back. In these cases, some of these assisted living communities have GPS enabled watches or other devices that each of their residents wear. These items send a signal out automatically to the assisted living community pinpointing his or her precise location. In the event of a resident going missing, these devices can find them immediately wherever they may be. There is no video surveillance or audio recording involved, thus these monitoring systems are not invading on residents’ privacy. These technologies are incredibly useful and necessary tools to take proper care of those who need it.
Emergency Call Buttons
The most crucial aspect of assisted living communities is life safety. These residents are at a point in their lives where 24/7 assistance might be necessary. Technologies such as call buttons are one of the best ways to stay connected whenever a resident needs assistance or has an emergency. These call buttons can be programmed to be connected to a staff member, caregiver or an emergency response team at the assisted living community. These call buttons reduce response time dramatically. There are many types of emergency call buttons, one being a pendant hanging around the neck of a resident. This pendant allows the resident to have quick 24/7 access to emergency care if and when needed. Also integrated with GPS technology, once the emergency call button on the pendant is pressed it wirelessly sends out a signal to a caregiver or staff member pinpointing their exact location in the case of an emergency. This GPS technology further reduces response time avoiding the responder to have to search through the residence trying to find the resident in need. For example, if the resident is not able to call out or has become unresponsive in the bathroom since pressing the emergency call button, these GPS enabled pendants prevent the responder from looking in other rooms prior to finding the resident and leading them to their exact location. Call buttons have several uses such as assisting with medical emergencies and fires, as well as burglary.
Although these communities are assisted living communities, the men and women who reside within want nothing more than independence, for the most part. No one wants to have to constantly depend on others for help. With the help of technology, these residents can live more independently and comfortably while still maintaining a constant connection with aid extremely close by in the result of an accident or emergency. However, this technology, although extremely useful and helpful, can never replace another human being on the staff. These technologies only reinforce the mission of assisted living communities, for residents to feel at home while getting the care they need.
Video conferencing is one of the most exciting trends to hit the health care field in recent years. Thanks to video conferencing, health care providers can do a better job and patients can become more educated about their health. There are many ways video conferencing is improving health care.
Facilitating Collaboration Between Doctors
In the past, collaboration was limited to phone calls or written correspondence. Thanks to video conferencing, doctors are able to hold face-to-face conversations to discuss patient situations and potential treatments and diagnoses. In some cases, doctors will even video conference with each other during treatment or medical procedures like surgery, to determine how well the patient is responding and provide real-time updates and advice.
Easing The Burden On High Volume Providers
In some areas, like military bases or public schools, a relatively small number of health care providers are responsible for offering care to a large number of patients. One of the ways video conferencing is improving health care is by offering some relief to these providers. Video conferencing can be used to treat some of these patients that require simple checkups, while in person care from providers can be reserved for serious cases that require larger blocks of time from doctors and their staff.
Making It Easier To Get A Second Opinion
Patients and their family members often choose to get a second opinion from another physician after they receive a diagnosis from the first health care provider they see. This can be difficult if there are not many physicians located in a patient’s area, especially if they are looking for a second opinion on a specialized issue that not many doctors are well-trained in. With video conferencing, someone that is looking for another opinion about their medical treatment can get this opinion right from the comfort of their own home or from their primary care provider, making it easy to get more information about options for treatment.
Improving Internal Operation For Health Care Systems
Video conferencing can be especially important for operators of large networks that have several facilities in different cities and states. Doctors and nurses at these kinds of facilities usually have a need to exchange information. In some cases, doctors will travel to different facilities over the course of a typical work week so that they can provide services to more patients.
These health care situations are very suitable for video conferencing within an organization because they allow for communication without physical travel. With the tools that go along with video conferencing, such as file sharing databases and messaging tools, doctors and their staff can share patient records and other kinds of information that needs to be transmitted from one location to another. Leveraging video conferencing in this way could even result in a reduction in the amount of trips that a healthcare provider is required to take to different facilities and locations within a healthcare network.
It is clear that video conferencing is a trend that is here to stay in health care. Nearly 9 out of every 10 healthcare executives believe that in the next ten years, telemedicine will transform the health care system in the United States. The above benefits and other ways video conferencing is improving health care should serve to make that transformation a positive one.
At Pentegra Systems, we work closely with our clients to provide them the right audio, video, low voltage and collaboration technologies that support their business goals. Serving customers throughout Chicagoland, Pentegra aspires to be the first company you call for your system integration needs. Ready to learn more, connect with us here. We are happy to help!
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