Technology permeates just about every aspect of our lives. It has become central to communicating, managing our lives, and conducting our work. It has also changed our healthcare systems by integrating wearable devices with electronic health records (EHRs) to improve patient care.
The natural progression is that technologies leveraged for communication and healthcare would weave themselves into aged care. Aged care has become more innovative thanks to technology that improves quality of life for people as they age.
Over 1 million Australians accessed aged care services across 2019 - 2020, so it is vital for the sector to keep up with the latest technology innovations.
Enabling aged care in the community with technology innovations
Care in the community becomes incredibly important as people live longer and our population continues aging. Many older adults prefer to stay in their homes and receive care there, which increases their quality of life. On a broader scale, it makes little sense to build new aged care institutions and leave behind empty houses.
Aged care technology innovations enable aged care in the community through the following:
Creating social connections
Technology innovation is rapidly transforming the aged care sector, making it possible for people to live fuller and more connected lives, even as they age. In the past, older people spent their days isolated in nursing homes, distant from others unless they received visitors.
As more older adults adopt smart technology, they can stay in touch with friends and family via the internet, connect with other residents in their care community and have access to resources that keep them engaged and mentally stimulated.
Wearable devices include any device worn on the body, but many of us know them as the smartwatches we wear on our wrists. They serve various purposes in aged care to support seniors and their caregivers. Wearables monitor heart rate and sleep patterns and deliver them to caregivers monitoring people with pre-existing conditions.
Wearable devices provide older adults with autonomy as they can live their lives in their homes and send an alert from their device if they have an issue. Additionally, wearable devices can improve the quality of care delivered in aged care by providing data about the person's health that caregivers can leverage to inform decisions about their care.
Reducing the human toll of care
Caregiving is a demanding role with caregivers on their feet all day, meeting the needs of multiple people.
Technology innovation is transforming the aged care sector by reducing the human toll of care. Aged care workers can provide personalised care with the help of technology, which means they do not have to spend as much time on administrative tasks. This allows them to focus on providing people-centered care, which benefits both the worker and the person receiving care.
The Modern Workplace for aged care
Modern workplaces prioritise digital collaboration and tools to create new ways of working. If the aged care sector prioritises innovation, it must also deliver the modern workplace to enable caregivers. You can facilitate this through:
The mobile workforce
Aged care workers can support older people in their homes with technology innovation, making it easier for caregivers to deliver services to people that live in remote areas.
Technology has allowed caregivers to capture and track data more effectively, which has resulted in better care outcomes for clients. Through technology such as mobile apps and GPS tracking, caregivers can communicate with each other and manage the clients they care for. In this way, technology helps to ensure that seniors receive the best possible care in a timely and coordinated manner.
Training and upskilling
The modern workplace is constantly changing, and you need to invest in training and upskilling to keep pace with the latest trends. By keeping up with the latest training and upskilling programs, aged care workers can stay ahead of the curve and provide high-quality care for their patients.
Training and upskilling enable the modern workplace with newly trained staff capable of adapting to changes in technology, information and process. Training is also vital to attracting new staff as you can onboard them with the promise of professional development.
Future technology innovations that will transform the sector
Movement sensors to detect falls
Movement sensors improve care management for adults in aged care and are becoming increasingly common in aged care facilities to prevent falls. You can place the sensors in areas where residents often walk, and the sensors alert staff when someone has stopped moving for too long.
Movement sensors are just one example of how technology transforms the aged care sector. Many more technologies will soon become commonplace in this industry as well, and it is likely we'll see even greater advancements in years to come.
Artificial intelligence to enhance care
As society continues to age, artificial intelligence (AI) in the aged care sector will become increasingly important. AI helps with managing older patients, predicting illnesses, and assisting rehabilitation. For example, AI can help manage elderly patients by tracking their movements and predicting changes in their behaviour.
Another benefit of using AI in aged care is that it can help to predict illnesses. AI detects early signs of dementia or Alzheimer's disease to improve diagnosis and ensure that patients receive treatment early.
Overall, AI is an invaluable tool in the aged care sector. It has the potential to improve patient outcomes and manage elderly patients more effectively. As society ages, we must leverage all available technologies to ensure that our ageing population receives the best care.
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