Due to an increase in a number of aged population in Australia, aged care facilities have become highly popular in nursing care (Fleming, Fay, & Robinson, 2012). According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around 7.8% of the country’s population aged over 65 were in residential care at some point in between 2013 and 2014.There are a given number of factors that determines sustainable and convenient aged care facilities (Bolden, 2017). These factors include financial stability, highly qualified and skilled staff and government support. However, the use of technology in aged care facilities has proved to be one of the most upcoming factors that influence the convenience and quality of care provided (Fleming, Fay, & Robinson, 2012). This is due to the fact that the aging population is increasing and the country may find it difficult to provide a high standard of care from the available human resource. The use of technology is fast, accurate and provides a high quality of care (Bolden, 2017). However, most of the technologies in aged care require training of patients on how to use them and their installation in a bit expensive (Willoughby, 2013).
This study seeks to discuss various technologies that are used in aged care facilities and how they help in improving the standard of care and wellbeing of patients. In addition, the study seeks to demonstrate their uses, importance and any possible demerits and limitations that hinder their use in aged care facilities.
Age care sector is currently experiencing a technological increase in terms of usage and innovations. There are many exciting and fantastic technologies that are currently available in some and other in most of the aged care residential (Bolden, 2017). Due to that reason, it is important for health care professionals to understand their existence including their basic functions. Most of the aged care facilities technologies play around improving the standard of care, enhancing daily activities of patients and other for direct therapeutic interventions. This literature review demonstrates some of the technologies used in aged care (Bolden, 2017).
To begin with, one of the most current technologies used in aged care facilities is the Elsi Smart Floor ("The 4 most exciting technologies and innovations in aged care", 2017). The Elsi Smart Floor uses similar technology as the ipads where alarm and monitoring systems are made up of small pads which are placed on the floor of aged care facility ("The 4 most exciting technologies and innovations in aged care", 2017). The use of these pads is to monitor the movements of various patients and staff who are walking or moving along it in order to provide relevant data that can be used in improving the quality of care (Team, 2017). The pads are made in such way they send data in according to the quality of pressure applied giving anyone monitoring the system a strong insight about the type and mode of movement of the patient (Team, 2017). These types of floor help the health care providers to be able to see what is happening in a given place at a certain time thus helping in immediate interventions. The floors can also show if the patient is walking or if she or he has fallen to the ground.
Another technology commonly used in aged care facilities is Stroke Therapeutic Rehabilitation Occupational Kinetic Experiment (STROKE) (Sugimoto, Ogata, & Kashiwagi, 2016). This is among the most recent aged care technology brought out by two brothers Joshua Edye and Kaiden in 2013 after observing their grandfather who had stroke refusing to do physical exercise (Sugimoto, Ogata, & Kashiwagi, 2016). The technology although it is not in many aged care homes, is designed in such a way it can increase compliance to physical therapy and rehabilitation by making some of the exercises to be in form of video games helping in the kinetic platform (Sugimoto, Ogata, & Kashiwagi, 2016).
Other than that, the Paro Therapeutic Robots is another type of technology used in aged care residential that are usually robotic seals used to increase socialization and solve stress issues in aged patients (Webb, Whittle, & Schwarz, 2012). Various studies have shown that there is a positive effect that certain animals have on elderly people in reducing stress and encouraging socializations. Due to that reason, the Paro robots are basically made for residential homes of for elderly patients who cannot or do have access to animals in order to provide similar benefits (Webb, Whittle, & Schwarz, 2012).
In addition, aged care residential currently has an increase internet access. There are various reasons that outweigh the benefits of internet access in these facilities (Fleming, Fay, & Robinson, 2012). By connecting online, different patients are able to stay in touch with family members using videos, emails and other social media services (Bolden, 2017). Other than that, internet access makes it possible for aged patients to engage in video games which help in improving socialization and depression problems. Furthermore, by offering access to the internet, aged cares residential are able to promote banking and economic services which cater for patients lifestyles and basic wellbeing and not necessary their care requirements (Bolden, 2017).
Some of the aged care homes are installed with smart toilets. The smart toilets technology can check blood pressure, heart rate and proteins or sugar in urine. Information is corrected and send to a central center by a health care provider (Gaskin, Georgiou, Barton, & Westbrook, 2012). These smart toilets have other optional features like speech recognitions and verbal prompts. In addition, some smart toilets are designed in such a way they have an altered for cleaning (Gaskin, Georgiou, Barton, & Westbrook, 2012). This is done using adjustable self-cleaning nozzles. Studies have shown that these toilets reduce both patients and health care providers stress and other psychological problems. In addition to that, these toilets have demonstrated to have a significant decrease in bacterial growth in urine.
More and more aged care facilities are been seen with an increase advancement of telehealth adoption. New Zealand has committed to ensuring all aged care residential have ultra-fast broadband by 2019. The ultrafast broadband has made aged care facilities to have various technological capabilities such as video collaboration solutions ("Privacy within Aged Care Facilities", 2013). This has helped to overcome various challenges such as traveling distances between the health care facilities and hospitals. Other than that, where there is a shortage of healthcare like in rural areas, patients can be consulted over the video by health practitioners from other hospitals ("Privacy within Aged Care Facilities", 2013).
Most of the aged care residential have advanced computer technology that has to make it easier for these old patients with impairment to better use computers (Reymond, Israel, & Charles, 2012). These computers have special features like large keyboards with different key display plus keyboards that are onscreen, touch screens , screen magnifier and enlargers, speech and voice recognition programs other than mouse and keyboards , screen readers that can read everything out displayed on the screen including graphics, texts menus and control buttons and software programs that can type speech and give auditory feedback of what is being typed ("Dementia-friendly environments - assistive technology", 2017).
This multimedia technology used in aged care facilities can promote more mean full contacts between health care provider and individuals with conditions such as dementia. For example, different individuals can look at databases of music, video clips and photographs together ("Dementia-friendly environments - assistive technology", 2017). Various users have limited number of choices using touch screens and can choose whatever they like. Multimedia technology has also proved to help in cognitive issues ("Dementia-friendly environments - assistive technology", 2017).
Due an increase in a number of aged patients, more and more aged care facilities have been developed. Health care providers can found it difficult to deal with this increasing number of patients without the use of technology. Technology has proved to be fast, accurate and provides a high quality of care making it easy for medical care providers. Due to that reason various technological advancement and innovations have occurred in aged care residential. These aged care facilities have Elsi Smart Floor uses similar technology as the ipads where alarm and monitoring systems are made up small pads which are placed on the floor of aged care facility and can detect movements of patients walking. Stroke Therapeutic Rehabilitation Occupational Kinetic Experiment (STROKE) is designed in such a way it can increase compliance to physical therapy and rehabilitation by making some of the exercises to be in form of video games. In addition, most of the aged care facilities have the multimedia technology, smart toilets, advanced computers, telehealth and an increase internet access.
Bolden, S. (2016). Top four technology tips to help aged care providers get ahead – iCareHealth. Icarehealth.com.au. Retrieved , from https://www.icarehealth.com.au/blog/top-four-technology-tips-to-help-aged-care-providers-get-ahead/
Dementia-friendly environments - assistive technology. (2017). Www2.health.vic.gov.au. Retrieved, from https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/ageing-and-aged-care/dementia-friendly-environments/assistive-technology
Fleming, R., Fay, R., & Robinson, A. (2012). Evidence-based facilities design in health care: a study of aged care facilities in Australia. Health Services Management Research, 25(3), 121-128. https://dx.doi.org/10.1258/hsmr.2012.012003
Gaskin, S., Georgiou, A., Barton, D., & Westbrook, J. (2012). Examining the role of information exchange in residential aged care work practices-a survey of residential aged care facilities. BMC Geriatrics, 12(1). https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-12-40
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Privacy within Aged Care Facilities. (2013). The Internet Journal Of Advanced Nursing Practice, 10(2). https://dx.doi.org/10.5580/69c
Reymond, L., Israel, F., & Charles, M. (2012). A residential aged care end-of-life care pathway (RAC EoLCP) for Australian aged care facilities. Australian Health Review, 35(3), 350. https://dx.doi.org/10.1071/ah10899
Sugimoto, K., Ogata, Y., & Kashiwagi, M. (2016). Factors promoting resident deaths at aged care facilities in Japan: a review. Health & Social Care In The Community. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12383
Team, T. (2017). Improving quality of aged care with technology | iCareHealth
Blog. Icarehealth.com.au. Retrieved , from https://www.icarehealth.com.au/blog/improving-quality-aged-care-through-technology/
The 4 most exciting technologies and innovations in aged care (2017). Newly. Retrieved , from https://newly.com.au/the-4-most-exciting-technologies-and-innovations-in-aged-care/
Webb, B., Whittle, T., & Schwarz, E. (2012). Provision of dental care in aged care facilities,
NSW, Australia - Part 1 as perceived by the Directors of Nursing (care providers). Gerodontology, 30(3), 226-231. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-2358.2012.00670.x
Willoughby, L. (2013). Unpacking barriers to quality care for Deaf people in residential aged care facilities. Disability & Society, 29(2), 173-183. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2013.776492
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