Tapping into technology to reduce social isolation

Internet-enabled technology has the power to address the social needs of community-dwelling aged care clients on a large scale, according to a speaker at an upcoming technology in aged care conference.

 

Using internet-enabled technologies to meet the social needs of aged care clients in the community can deliver existing services more effectively to more people, Jeremy Trouncer, CEO of inTouch Living will tell the upcoming Information Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) conference.

Mr Trouncer said once the infrastructure is in place, aged care providers will be able to easily expand into options including home automation, preventative health and telehealth.

Jeremy Trouncer
Jeremy Trouncer

ITAC 2014, to be held on July 22-23, is focusing on assistive technologies to enhance senior living as well as its importance in creating a sustainable, quality-focused aged care environment.

Mr Trouncer will discuss his experiences of using internet-connected technologies to empower community-based aged care clients.

“A lot of people are socially isolated. It is a major challenge and we work with providers to implement technology to help address the issue,” Mr Trouncer told AAA.

“You can send someone around but there’s a limited amount of funding and a limited number of carers available to do that. With technology and using the internet it is much cheaper and more efficient so you can reach a much larger client base.”

inTouch Living has developed a social care technology platform for Australian aged care providers to engage and connect their clients through a cloud-based care portal that connects to TV and tablet devices.

Clients can use the platform to socialise with their carer, family and other clients through individual or group video calls, photo sharing and messaging, Mr Trouncer said.

However, the potential is much larger because this type of platform can be integrated with other technologies to help older people live more independently at home, such as devices to monitor and prevent falls, he said.

“The first challenge in Australia is getting an internet-connected service into a client’s home that is easy and appealing for the client to use.

“Once we have that then with all the consumer technologies that are coming out at a rate of knots – the wearables, the home automations and the telehealth devices for collecting health data – it creates a compelling business case, because as a provider you now have a scalable, digital channel to engage your clients.

“That is where we see the future of care in Australia,” Mr Trouncer said.

Elsewhere at the two-day event Professor Jenny Basran from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada is giving a keynote address on technology across the continuum of aged care. Among Prof Basran’s many awards is one for developing a caregiver app.

The Aged Care Industry IT Council will provide a report on plans for the industry’s ICT future and host a CIO forum. There will also be an update from three of the NBN-enabled telehealth pilot program participants which will include lessons learnt from the trials.

Concurrent sessions at the event will look at assistive technology in areas including creating independence at home, integrating the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR), social media to improve the client and guest experience, workforce safety, business viability and profitability, security and risk management, and consumer directed care.

ITAC 2014, which is the 7th annual national conference of its kind, will be held 22 – 23 July at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart. AAA will be tweeting from the event. Follow the action on @AustAgeAgenda.

Tags: assistive-technologies, intouch-living, ITAC14, jeremy-trouncer, slider, social-isolation,

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