Senior Living Tech Solutions Your Community Truly Needs
Senior living communities, much like most residential buildings and communities, are becoming more and more reliant on technology to fulfill daily needs. Team members in senior living communities are using technology in all aspects of their caregiving, and they need a robust IT infrastructure in place to fulfill their daily duties and provide the best care possible for their residents.
Senior Living Solutions For Your Team
Each year, technology and IT solutions become more necessary—not just because they allow your team to provide better treatment and care, but also because they provide your team with the tools they need to be more efficient and productive. With a mobile device that lets a caregiver fill out a form in each resident’s room, they don’t need to walk around the entire community to click a button. With IT solutions, you’re saving money in the long run.
Electronic Health Records
Electronic Health Records (EHR) are now being used by most healthcare and senior living communities due to their efficiency. Paper records seem archaic in comparison, since EHRs help with giving information to families, simplifying document storage, and providing seamless incident reporting capabilities.
However, EHR maintenance relies on a strong IT infrastructure. Most people focus on the EHR software, which is already a complicated choice. But in order to ensure EHRs actually make your business more effective, you have to take a step back and look at your IT framework.
- Do you have mobile devices or kiosks that will help team members access a resident’s EHR?
- Do you have a robust wifi network that can easily support the number of devices in your community?
- Do you have the best cloud infrastructure in place that fits your needs today but allows for future growth?
- Do you or your provider have an efficient backup and recovery procedure in place to backup your data on a consistent fail-proof basis?
These are some of the questions to keep in mind about your EHR use and how you can implement improvements at the macro level to help your team.
IT Services and Business Check-Ups
Most senior living communities don’t want to refurbish their entire IT infrastructure. It can be a challenge to go through that process, both financially and logistically. That’s why IT checkups are so important: they reveal the areas where your community needs an update and where you can still get by without making changes in the near future. You might want to revamp your wifi network, for instance, while keeping your current mobile devices and plan to upgrade to a newer model later.
IT checkups can also help you detect moments of attrition within your current network. An IT checkup can show you what services you can add to improve your outcomes and provide better services to your residents and staff. Furthermore, you can consider adding a Virtual CIO to your team that will provide their expertise and constant feedback, giving you great near-term suggestions and long-term strategies for improving your IT infrastructure. A virtual CIO is flexible and perfect for companies searching for an expert in the industry. This person will offer an independent third-party viewpoint that will make your community more successful.
While infection prevention might not be the first thing you think about when considering IT solutions, the fact is that it should be a major consideration when reviewing your IT framework. Mobile devices brought from room to room can transmit viruses or bacteria between residents as well as staff, so you need a reliable way to stop infections before they are able to spread. Especially after COVID-19, infection prevention is one of the most important aspects of keeping your residents safe.
Luckily, there are easy ways to maintain safety when it comes to your devices. Many companies offer antibacterial treatments as well as antimicrobial treatments that are effective against a range of microorganisms and bacteria, including C. difficile spores, Hepatitis B, Norovirus, and Canine parvovirus. When the product is applied with an electrostatic sprayer, these harmless chemicals will wrap the item in a 360-degree coating. This coating is fragrance-free and protects the device or treatment area for up to 12 months.
With the recent pandemic, cleanliness is more important than ever. Stricter infection and bacteria control is central to keeping your residents safe and protected.
Senior Living Tech Solutions for Your Community
Although there is a stereotype that seniors don’t typically use a lot of technology, this is constantly changing. More than ever before, seniors are using technology in their everyday lives. Incorporating senior living tech solutions into your community can allow seniors to learn more, feel protected, and access virtual programs.
Smart Home Devices
A team of researchers at ResearchGate performed a study to discover if the senior population had any need for smart home devices. The researchers studied 14 residents to find out the pros and cons of using smart home devices in a senior living community. In most cases, the smart home devices positively impacted the seniors, and the seniors agreed to install the devices into their residences.
Many seniors want to maintain their independence, and moving into a senior living community can sometimes feel like a sacrifice of their self-sufficiency. Smart home devices are one way that residents can maintain their independence while still living in the safety of a senior living community.
However, smart home devices can create some privacy concerns. In most cases, smart home devices are voice-activated and are ‘waiting’ to hear someone say a trigger word for them to react. When installing smart devices into your community, it’s important to research and understand how they work and how their privacy settings work. If seniors question the devices, they will feel more at ease if you have the answers to protecting their privacy. Smart home devices can also become expensive if you place them in each individual room in your community. Make sure that you are budgeting to ensure that your team can offer the best tech services for all of your seniors, not just some of them.
With an emphasis on telemedicine, senior living communities have adopted video chatting between medical providers and residents. Doctors, therapists, and other physicians have adapted and adjusted to ensure that seniors, along with any individual, can have access to their services. There are free services such as Skype and Zoom that seniors in your community can take advantage of to ensure they can socialize with loved ones and talk to their primary care physicians. Offering iPads or tablets to your residents will allow them to access their doctors without the fear of leaving their community.
Along with apps to connect with doctors, seniors can also use these video chatting services to communicate with friends and family, near and far. From virtual game nights and wine happy hours, seniors can still have the ability to interact with loved ones. In addition, gyms and workout classes are now pivoting to connect with seniors in their own homes. Fitness and working out can be a challenge for seniors and residents struggling to leave their homes, but now virtual workout classes can minimize that struggle. Residents can use the tablets in your community to watch or join workout videos to remain active.
Medical Alert & Tracking Systems
The safety of your residents is one of the most important things in your community. Alert systems are a necessary addition to any senior living community to ensure your residents’ safety. If a senior falls, for instance, they can use your alert system to call a team member or dial 911 directly. Some systems range from high-tech to basic buttons, so there are various options for your community and your budget. With the click of a button, your residents can call and connect with call centers to ensure that help is on the way.
Using tracking and location systems in your community will confirm that all of your residents are safe. For example, if there was an infection or outbreak, you can follow the seniors in that area and connect them with a virtual doctor’s visit to determine if they were affected by the outbreak. Contact tracing has recently been effective when securing the safety of residents, making it a positive addition to your community.
Tracking systems are beneficial not only for the seniors in your community but also for your team members. There are more advanced no contact tracking and reporting systems that can help with long term patient care. These systems monitor heart rate, respiration, sleep cycles, and movement so that when there is a notification that any of these are out of range, a staff member can attend to that need right away. Access to this information will allow your staff to stay constantly informed on long term resident care and identify patterns that might improve the quality of care in the future. In addition to giving the staff confidence, putting these devices in place can help give families peace of mind regarding their loved ones.
Tablets for Entertainment
There are countless benefits of using IT solutions to keep your community safe and healthy, but technology is much more than that. Now, tech is a way to keep residents entertained. Adding tablets and e-readers into your community will give seniors thousands of books at their fingertips. They can download books of multiple genres to read fiction, learn a new skill, or read a book about self-improvement. Reading can keep their minds agile, along with puzzles and other games available on a tablet.
With the tablet on hand, a senior in your community can play word searches, puzzles, and more to stay mentally fit. If there are seniors in your community that are visually impaired, most tablets have the option to increase brightness and font size. There are also audiobooks that they can listen to instead of reading, making it easier for those who may have impaired hearing. Many seniors are used to technology and understand the basics, but it’s also good to offer lessons to show them all that is available on these tablets and e-books.
Technology is an important aspect of senior communities. Taking advantage of the technology available for your community can create a more efficient process for your team members and a more pleasant home for your seniors.
To learn more about IT services, tech solutions, and efficiency for your community, don’t waste time with automated services—instead, talk to a real human.