Positive Disruption in the Aged Care Industry
Aged care has been surrounded by eye-opening stories. Among of the eye-opening stories is the number of older Australians at risk with malnutrition. Another eye-opening stories is that aged care facilities are looking less homely in terms of residential aesthetics, but instead transforming into institutionalized facilities by expanding operational capacity.
Fortunately, these eye-opening scenarios often lead to something positive as the aged care industry is responding with the challenges with the support of the government. Aside from the initiative ‘Cooking for One or Two’ that aims to help older Australians to fully grasp the concept of independence and learn how to shop and cook for themselves or for someone else, other solutions are in the works, namely, pseudo-suburbs, robotics, and purposeful activity.
Feels Like Home Communities
One of the pseudo-suburbs projects, according to a report by The Guardian, is a state-of-the-art aged care precinct. This was announced by the entrepreneurial University of Wollongong earlier this year and is said to become part of the campus, which will take up 700 hectares of land within the campus. This new facility is expected to have an aged care and senior living village. The village is said to have around 200 independent living homes and a non-surgical, preventative community health clinic worth $44 million. 650 students who are enrolled in health courses for the aged are available to help the ageing community for their needs.
The announcement said they will combine academic research and patient care, which they claim a first in the world. The university explained this approach is patterned after the well-known Mayo Clinic in the United States, and as well as Scandinavia’s well-known designs made for aged care.
Prof Alison Jones, the UOW deputy VC and executive dean of the faculty of science, medicine and health said via The Guardian: “There will be opportunities for the older cohort to act as mentors and to be volunteers. But also they will have the campus at their disposal so it will be like living at a university of the third age.
Technology for Aged Care
“Technology will enhance the experience with lots of remote sensors, in everything from beds to shoes, so people can wander without anyone worrying they are lost; we are also looking at the sensible use of robotics. With the permission of residents, we will be able to capture big data health analytics to create personal profiles that match their needs and give them more choice,” Prof Jones added through The Guardian.
Technology has also established itself as a great solution for having more resources in delivering services for home and in residential care. The Guardian reported one of the companies that will integrate technology is Lamson trolley robots. The company already has several years of experience with hospitals. The Guardian reported the company will roll out automated devices that can deliver medication and meals. It can also collect the laundry of residents.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is also playing a role in the aged care sector as it’s seen as a solution to relieve anxiety during chronic pain or wound dressing. According to The Guardian, Not-for-profit organisation Feros Care will use virtual care through mobile networks, which will be used to deliver medical information to the virtual nurse in Coolangatta.
Chief customer officer Melissa Simpson said via The Guardian: “These systems have seen a significant reduction in the number of bed days in hospital and a reduction in the severity of admission.”
Ultimately, the evolution of technology has opened various doors for the aged care sector. Currently, South Australia’s Elderly Citizens Homes (ECH), a retirement housing for older South Australians and war widows, is currently using non-invasive monitoring. According to The Guardian, this approach will not push residents to wear any sensors or even see the cameras or buttons to press in order to signal the organisation for help. The organisation will rely on discreetly placed sensors. Called Billy, these sensors’ job is to monitor residents — everything, from movement to behaviour patterns, and even temperature — and send the data in real-time to a family member or care manager.
Technology has massively disrupted the healthcare sector, especially aged care, in a positive way with integrations of machines that provide real-time updates, monitoring, and readings. With this, the healthcare workforce is required to understand how to maximise the usage of technology to deliver the best quality of care. MCIE offers aged care courses with a well-planned curriculum that shape students into becoming proficient in aged care technology and becoming a wonderful carer.
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