About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
How can the healthcare industry use technology to improve in-home care for American seniors?
Essay response by Caroline Abiaziem, Bethel University
The hospitals and clinics are having constant challenges in the accelerating growth of aging seniors in America. Technological advancements such as Telemedicine, home automation and assistive technologies help promote health and well beings of seniors’ in-home care. This essay will explore how the healthcare industry can use technology to improve in-home care for American seniors.
Pain is one of the common issues with seniors. Technology has become ubiquitous making it possible for individuals and seniors to receive cares and support wherever they are, for example, Smart phone app can now help patients manage their pains by helping pain specialists treat and monitor rapidly increasing population of seniors suffering from chronic pain. As illustrated by Robert Jamison, PhD, professor of anesthesia and psychiatry at the Harvard University, the key future of this app is daily pain tracking. Five questions are asked about their pain, activity interference, sleep, mood and overall status using a scale of 0 to 10. Should the pain ratting significantly increase from baseline, a pain specialist will be contacted. In the same vein, a February study, co written by Kennedy and published in the journal of healthcare information management notes that some 75% of healthcare costs are tied to chronic conditions. Most seniors in the in-home care suffer from one chronic ailment or the other.
Seniors in America have been noted to be benefiting from technological innovations such as the security alerts worn by seniors who reside independently, or have care givers who are working outside the home. This gadget has the capability to trigger emergency call if the senior falls, or develops a life threatening emergency situation. My father died from complications of a stroke while alone at home. This technology may have saved his life if available at that time.
Another intriguing technology that can improve in-home care is the electric wheel chairs. It is amazing how this equipment can assist caregivers in moving their clients from one point to the other. This piece of technology is so helpful because most senior’s in-home care can be independent to a reasonable point with the help of his technology.
Interestingly, other pieces of technology that can improve in-home care for American seniors are the Hoyer lift and the EZ stand. Care givers uses this piece f technology to move their immobile/hard to move clients from bed to chair and vice versa. It also prevents avoidable fall if properly used. It is advisable that individuals taking care of these seniors get training on these technologies prior to using them.
The room cameras have also improved in-home care for seniors. Care givers can monitor their clients from the room cameras to catch when they are indulging in activities that are dangerous. For example, attempting to use the cooking stove when they are not supposed to be used (Dementia clients). Creativity in technology also brought about the safety our seniors receiving in-home cares enjoy. One of such technologies is the safety bars built into bathrooms and showers at home. Seniors with mobility issues can benefit from this innovation by enjoying safe showers and baths, thereby minimizing falls and fractures.
In conclusion, technology has proven to improve in-home care for senior citizens in America. The world is changing in a very fast pace and elderly people no longer have to be kept in the nursing homes if they can be supported in-home with the help of technology. They can be taken care of in-home while utilizing all these numerous technological inventions that can support life and improve living.
Caroline is a a full time doctoral student at Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota pursuing a degree in higher education administration.