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 Kelsey Duncan
Healthcare industries can use technology to improve in-home care for American seniors in various ways. First would be using sensors in the senior’s homes. Second would be having a computer in the home with a 24/7 live doctor that can answer questions. Last, would be a patient monitoring system on them.
First the sensors in the senior’s home can help regulate and learn there day of living patterns. For instance, how many times a day they walk back and forth to the bathroom, the times they wake up and go to sleep, and if they leave the house or not during the day. This can show the nurses or doctors how they are doing that day. If there activity were to decrease during the day for any particular time, the nurses could make a quick call to make sure they are okay and if no answer then the nurse can make an emergency visit. This would help the senior feel like they can live on their own without any assistant and allow them to live safely without any intervention.
Second, having a computer in the home with an on call doctor or nurse that the senior can easily get a hold of. This would make the conversation between the senior and doctor more personal than just a phone call. For instance, the senior bumped into something at their home and now has a bruise. Instead of making a trip to the doctor they would be able to show the doctor right then and there. This would help the senior to not have to make a trip out of the house while also feeling the security of a doctor is just a video chat away. This would help the doctor and or nurses see physical changings on the seniors or actually seeing there expression when discussing something. When talking on phone you cannot really gather the individual’s mood or how they feel about a subject being discussed. However, through a video chat you can see all their emotions and really get onto a different level of connection with the patient.
Last but not least, would be a monitoring system put onto the patient. This would just be a system to where it will record the heartbeat and pulse of the patient to make sure they are doing well. This could eliminate a lot of the driving that the nurses or doctors have to do every day just make sure the patient is doing well. This can also help with no matter where the patient is the doctors are able to read there vitals to make sure they are doing okay and still thriving through another day of life. This information can be sent back to doctor’s office to be recorded into files and once again make the senior feel like they are more independent.
In conclusion, the sensor on the senior’s home, the computer that has a doctor available 24/7, and the monitoring system put on the senior can help make them feel more independent and not have them to feel like they have to rely on the nurses and doctors for everything. These examples can also help the nurses and doctors stop making house calls that they do not have to make. However, the senior should be the number one priority here and if technology can help make their lives simpler and easier then I believe we need to help them!
Keeley is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in Administrative office and technology.