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News archive - March 2018
A call of duty
Two of biggest challenges currently facing care home operators are a lack of funding and an increased demand from regulators to continuously improve performance.
The answer to addressing both these problems lies in the use of innovative technology.
Nurse call systems, in particular, provide a comprehensive solution, protecting residents’ health and wellbeing and offering an insight into staff activity and performance.
Similar to hospital systems; care home communication solutions have evolved from traditional bell-and-buzzer technology to something offering a host of additional features.
Chris Donnelly, national sales manager at nurse call solutions manufacturer, Aid Call, explains: “While a hospital predominantly focuses on providing a speedy response to critical situations; a care home often takes a more pro-active and preventative approach.
“Forward-thinking managers and owners of today’s care homes are eager to use the systems to monitor residents’ activity so they can predict the likelihood of a critical issue and prevent it from happening.”
This is done by means of a host of added-value features such as bed and chair sensors, fall detection, environmental sensors, and automated rooms, which provide periodic contact with the resident to confirm their safety and wellbeing.
This improvement in care can be further enhanced through the use of portable wearable devices so residents are no longer subject to constant supervision.
The CT spokesman said: “Since cost is a major concern, deploying wireless solutions has become a simple and very-popular choice for care homes.
“It offers ease of install without any disruption to residents or changes in layout.
“Wireless technology can also be integrated with a range of devices and systems to offer additional benefits.”
Courtney Thorne’s Altra Care SMART wireless nurse call system, for instance, can connect to pressure mats, thus reducing the risk of trips and falls.
Donnelly said: “If technology does not rely on cables or stationary wiring points, it allows for complete flexibility and mobility.
“This ability to adapt to the ever-changing priorities of the sector is reassuring at a time of increased pressure on resources and environments.”
Quality of care
Reporting software is vitally important too, helping to monitor response times and create a rich data pool that can be used to further improve services.
Medicare System’s E-LOGGING service provides secure access to nurse call data through an iCloud platform.
It enables care homes to record all events and produce tailored evidential activity reports so that key performance indicators can be monitored, such as staff response. Or it can provide data if incidents need to be investigated.
Donnelly says: “Care home systems are evolving from a one-size-fits-all solution to a more-tailored approach.
“The rigid and structured systems that have previously worked within the care sector are no longer feasible for providing the quality of care and are thus evolving into a combination of connected devices that offer a packaged solution.
“Combining different elements of technology to focus on one individual’s needs, rather than the needs of a care home as a whole, offers the operator greater flexibility to manage its staff and residents.”
The CT spokesman added: “We envision care homes of the future will be full of SMART technology.
“Nurse call devices located around a care home will become sensory components, using changes in levels of audio, light, the temperature, along with traditional physical inputs, a variation in the environment, or sudden deterioration in the resident’s wellbeing to raise an alert.
“And, if the resident is provided with a SMART wearable device, monitoring of their movement and location, as well as recoding of their heart rate, sleep, falls, blood pressure and oxygen levels can happen automatically.
“Instead of intrusive and sometimes-unsocial physical monitoring; residents can have their vital signs checked and recorded at any time.”
And Gray told hdm: “Both society and the care sector have changed enormously, particularly within recent years following increasing pressures facing care homes.
“Through all these changes the nurse call system has continued to develop and adapt, accommodating and aiding these changes.
“The growing demand for information at the point of care has prompted the introduction of a host of new products and technologies designed to aid those at the frontline and this will continue.”