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New technology is making an impact in unexpected places.

Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) may not be where you expect to find the latest in new technology. However, technological advancements are appearing with increasing frequency in Aged Care and some outstanding innovations are being implemented to improve residents’ quality of life.

There has been much discussion about surveillance and monitoring in RACFs and how Smart Technology may be able to assist staff in reducing the incidence of falls and improve residents’ mental health and well-being. Data tools and digital dashboards are being developed to predict at-risk residents and pain-monitoring technologies that can assess residents’ pain levels, are currently being tested.

The Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council’s submission to the Royal Commission stated that technology can improve the quality and safety of aged care and is key to fulfilling all eight of the quality standards. Testing and implementing these new technologies and determining where they can make the biggest difference is key.

For instance, technology is making a big difference overseas in continence management and assessment and one new system is currently being introduced to Australia and New Zealand.

New technology, TENA® Identifienables RACFs to conduct accurate continence assessments to provide true individualised care. The system is made up of TENA Sensor Wear pads, a reusable logger and a secure web portal. The specially designed pads contain integrated sensors that accurately track and record when a resident voids, how frequently, and how much urine is voided. The logger then transmits the tracked data via an embedded mobile SIM card to the secure web portal. Following the 72 hours of assessment, a report is automatically generated.

The TENA Identifi Web Portal is accessible on mobile device, tablet or desktop. Additional continence-related information such as leakage and manual toileting can also be added to create a more comprehensive picture. The report graphics are clear and easy for care staff to follow and assess. This reporting can provide better person centred care as it enables individual care plans to be created, with accurate pad changing times, accurate toileting times and also the correct product selection.

In pilot programs within Australia and abroad, RACFs using TENA Identifi have experienced a 24 percent reduction in the absorbency of pads needed, compared to regular current prescriptions.1 This means lower cost overall and less waste. More significantly, the right absorbent product and pad changing times results in better comfort and less skin irritation for residents.

With accurate toileting times, nurses or carers also reported a 21 percent reduction in pad changes.2 While 45 percent of residents experienced better timing of toileting routines, which was more individualised.1

‘It’s amazing technology. The report provides a complete picture of a resident’s needs in terms of continence. We can create a toileting plan around the actual times they need to go. This alone can reduce night-time disturbances and is better for a resident’s dignity,’ explained Gabrielle Curran, RN with over 30 years experience, now working as Health Support Consultant at Asaleo Care.

This new technology has many advantages over the current system, where continence assessments are conducted manually by carers or nurses. Carers check to see if residents have voided and estimate the void amounts. This often provides inaccurate data upon which toileting, pad changes and product choices are determined.

Having greater visibility with a TENA Identifi Report can also assist with explaining care plans to families and why a certain product is chosen. Continence management is included in the top five complaint categories received by the Aged Care Complaints Commission.3 So getting it right is important for RACFs.

Incontinence is highly prevalent in aged care with 70.9 percent4 of consumers in RACFs experiencing some level of incontinence. It is well-recognised that quality continence management starts with a comprehensive assessment. TENA Identifi provides carers with a better and more accurate understanding of their residents’ needs.

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  1. Customer results from 210 before and after monitoring reports done with TENA Identifi in Denmark. The monitoring reports were done in the period from June 2013 to June 2015.
  2. Proven in practice in the Netherlands. Reference on request.
  3. Aged Care Complaints Commission Annual Report 2016-2017.

Deloitte Access Economics Pty Ltd. The economic impact of incontinence in Australia. Melbourne; 2011.

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