How Technology Improves Lives for UK Care Home Residents
Technology is making an impact in healthcare today, not least in residential care homes throughout the UK. Smartphones and the internet are becoming more common in care homes, enabling residents to access information and to communicate with others such as their family members, health professionals and friends living anywhere in the world.
As far as healthcare is concerned, telemedicine is improving the services available for people and can be very relevant for those with mobility issues. Other technological advances that are used in care homes include mobile health applications and a range of wearable devices.
The most appropriate care for residents of care homes in West Sussex to Lancashire can be provided by the use of telecare. In East Lancashire, for example, GPs are piloting a scheme in which calls from care home staff are routed to a Hub where hospital-based nurses take the calls, rather than the calls going directly to the GPs. The nurses at the Hub are able to make an assessment as to whether a doctor’s visit is necessary or whether a district nurse or other member of the healthcare team should visit or the resident should attend the hospital’s emergency department. If further observations such as blood pressure or temperature need to be carried out, the Hub’s nurses can advise the care home staff accordingly.
Alarms and Monitors
Alarms to alert staff when residents at risk of falling leave their bed or chair are used UK-wide, not least in care homes in Surrey. These can minimise risks to the resident with mobility problems and are also useful for people with dementia, who may not realise when they are at risk. Care home residents can also benefit from alarms on doors so that if they decide to leave the building at inappropriate times or are at risk of injuring themselves, staff will be able to accompany them or persuade them to return.
Technology has also made it possible for staff in care homes in West Sussex who are not trained nurses to monitor the health status of residents by using various apps. These include apps such as those developed for monitoring lung function and managing asthma, making hospitalisation less likely. Another useful app keeps track of the weight of residents suffering from congestive cardiac failure so that fluid retention is quickly detected and can be treated before it becomes a medical emergency.
Technological advances have improved the lives of residents in care homes and often prevent the need for hospitalisation, because their health status can be monitored continually and changes recognised before they cause real problems. In rural areas particularly, technology can prevent many unnecessary journeys, both for residents and for the GPs who may need to treat them.