Critter Corner: Aging Technology in Long-Term Care Facilities

Dear Oakley,
 
The pandemic is hopefully over and things are getting back to normal. I remember how long-term care facilities were affected by the pandemic. Is there any new technology to help provide more protections for residents and support for staff? Thanks for your help!
 
Norma Ull
 
Dear Norma,
 
Now that people are getting vaccinated and COVID numbers are down, there is a lot of conversation about how to better support residents and dedicated staff at long-term care facilities. Below are some of the newest technologies that are being looked into to accomplish this goal in long-term care facilities:
 
– Human touch: While there is no substitute for human touch, new and emerging technologies including carebots, can help to ease the burden on staff, allowing them more time to devote to caring for residents. Technology can also improve safety for all. Read more about carebots in today’s newsletter article!
 
– Transferring: In LTC facilities, there is the daily challenge of moving residents with mobility difficulties. Shifting someone from a bed to a gurney or a wheelchair often requires several people, with the constant risk of injury for the staff. A startup called Able Innovations has developed a compact device called the Delta Platform, not yet on the market, which will allow a single caregiver to safely transfer an individual to and from a bed, without contact and while preserving the person’s dignity.
 
– Infection prevention and control are long-standing issues that predate COVID-19. A company called Tenera Care is now testing a wearable device that can help trace, reduce, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 by providing a readout of everyone who has been in contact with an infected visitor, resident or care worker. The system can also “see” people moving around and alert staff if a resident falls or goes into the wrong room.
 
– Sleeping: Nighttime can be particularly challenging for staff spread thinner. A startup called Tochtech Technologies has developed several non-wearable health tracking devices designed to allow staff and caregivers to monitor residents as they sleep. It could make work easier and more effective for workers on the overnight shifts, alerting them when a resident is experiencing heart or breathing problems.
 
– Isolation: The isolation felt by older people in long-term care facilities has been heartbreaking to witness during pandemic lockdowns. While nothing can replace face-to-face contact with loved ones, an app called FamliNet helps fill the gap, with an easy-to-use communications platform that allows older adults with little or no computer experience to connect with family and friends.
 
Technology Makes a Big Difference in Long-Term Care Facilities
 
When it comes to technology, I certainly hope it helps improve safety and quality of life in long-term care facilities after the pandemic, and it eases stresses on staff.
 
Hope this is helpful!
Oakley
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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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