There’s an app for that: The surprising technology changing aged care

| 23 Jul 2015
Technology

As a software provider, we have witnessed firsthand the positive impacts software solutions can have for aged care providers. A recent study by the University of Wollongong found that aged care facilities without an electronic health record system (EHRs) have a significantly higher risk of failing their accreditation. It has also been revealed that incomplete medical data is the cause of one in five medical errors. By using comprehensive residential and home care software solutions, aged care providers can minimise risk and provide high quality care.

But how else can providers harness technology to better support their staff and care recipients? See our list below for some ideas that may benefit your organisation.

Providing accessible technology

A study by nbn co revealed that two in five senior Australians use the internet to overcome feelings of loneliness. Many aged care providers offer internet access to their care recipients, however there are things to consider to ensure devices are made accessible for people with low vision or mobility:

  • Speech and voice recognition software may be easier to use for people with limited dexterity
  • Standard keyboards can be replaced with specially designed keyboards featuring larger buttons
  • Tablets with touch screens may be more intuitive to use than a computer with a mouse and keyboard
  • Screen readers that convert written text to audio are ideal for people with low vision, particularly for those who wish to keep up with news but are no longer able to read a traditional newspaper
  • Many local community centres offer free classes for people interested in learning how to use a computer or tablet. There are also programs where volunteers or high school students regularly visit aged care facilities to teach basic computing to interested residents

Apps that care

There are numerous apps that have been specifically designed to help care for someone in their home or within a residential facility.

GPS locators

Location based apps are ideal for people who have a tendency to wander away from their home or residential facility. There are numerous GPS tracking apps available for Windows, Android and iOS mobile phones, and many apps are free or can be purchased for a small cost.

Home safety tips

Home care workers can help keep consumers safe in their home by downloading a home safety app. These apps provide tips specifically for supporting older people; such as minimising tripping hazards, ensuring frequently used items are accessible, and lowering the risks of electrical or gas items being left on.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality may seem a thing of the future, but it is already helping both care staff and people with dementia experience different worlds. Virtual reality apps can enable people with dementia to recreate experiences from their childhood. While not yet in app form, Alzheimer’s Australia has built the Virtual Dementia Experience in Victoria, which provides care staff with an insight into the lives of people with dementia.

Robot ‘helpers’ have arrived

It should be emphasised that robots are here to make health workers’ jobs easier, not to replace them. Here are two robots that are benefiting aged care providers and the people they care for.

PARO

A companion robot in the shape of a baby harp seal is becoming a common fixture in aged care facilities around the world. PARO is designed to help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in residents with dementia, and has inbuilt sensors that respond to touch, sound, light, temperature and posture.

Robear

Robear is a high strength robot with the face of a friendly bear, designed to lift immobile aged care residents. Robear was created to lift frail older people from a wheelchair to a bed or bath, and has a bear cub-like face designed to reassure residents.

What other forms of technology can benefit aged care providers? Join our conversation below.

 

Tags: aged care, aged care software, apps, assistive technology, computers, ehealth, home care, medication management, mobile device, residential aged care, robotics, robots, software, software provider, technology

Sophia Bolden

Communications Coordinator

Sophia Bolden is the Communications Coordinator at iCareHealth. With a background in the disability and aged care sector, she brings an understanding and passion for aged care. Sophia recognises the importance of social media and online communication in relating technology and aged care news in the most effective way possible.

Post a comment