Implement new technologies now for today’s seniors but also prepare a plan for future assistive smart device solutions for a more tech-savvy cohort in five years’ time, an aged care IT conference has heard this week.
Feros Care LifeLink operations manager Anthony Bacon told aged care professionals about solutions they could implement today and the near future at the Driving Performance in Aged Care IT conference in Sydney on Wednesday.
LifeLink is the aged care provider’s technology arm and responsible for selecting and testing the assistive technology used by its aged care clients.
Based on surveys with Feros Care’s aged care clients and national averages, Mr Bacon said only 4 per cent of Feros Care’s clients over the age of 75 own a smart phone.
However, uptake among younger seniors is much higher at 49 per cent for clients over 70 years of age and 59 per cent of those aged over the age of 65, he said.
A key technology strategy that Feros Care employs is to provide aged care clients with a single point of contact for information and support, Mr Bacon said.
“It’s about giving our clients the option to be able to find all the information we’ve got to support them, and we call our version a single pane of glass,” Mr Bacon told the audience.
Mr Bacon suggested aged care providers evolve their assistive technology with simple Internet of Things services including Google Home, Samsung Smart Home and Apple HomePod.
These devices are among the latest home assistant systems allowing user interaction through voice commands or smart phones to control functions in the house such as kitchen appliances, lights and TVs.
LifeLink works with developers to create new assistive technologies based on staff and client experiences at the Feros Care Experience Centre on the Gold Coast, its innovation hub that launched in January 2017.
“We need to be broad, we need to be open to change and we need to be accepting of the things that are going to go in and out of fashion very quickly,” Mr Bacon said.
“It’s about giving our clients the options to suit them at the time.”
Latest assistive technology
Mr Bacon highlighted assistive technology available now and coming soon, such as wearable devices that allow seniors to maintain freedom and independence, while offering the support they need.
Among those was the Samsung’s Jupl smartwatch, which is fitted with medication reminders, home sensor-based activity tracking and a personal emergency response system.
LUMO Lift is a lightweight posture coach that LifeLink has repurposed to help prevent falls.
For integrated service management, Mr Bacon said the tablet-based Breezie allowed providers to deliver care and services through a personalised platform that fit the organisation’s strategies and goals and remotely monitor clients.
Mr Bacon also outlined clinical solutions the provider is looking to implement in the future including beds sensors that can monitor sleeping patterns and movement, such as the number of coughs and amount of times aged care residents go to the bathroom at night.
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