Keep in Touch with Tech

Technology for Residents

Social isolation is terrible in nursing homes. COVID-19 caused shifts in virtual technology use in nursing homes. Nursing homes need to encourage activities, family interactions, and communication for the health and well-being of the residents. As a nursing home lawyer for over 25 years, the lack of family communication is often a major issue. There are many ways to use technology.

Tablets offer ways to keep residents entertained, engaged and connected. Family Zoom meetings, YouTube videos, subscriptions for music and movie streaming are available to residents. Email and texts enjoy connecting online allowing them to read and respond to messages at their leisure.

One of the best virtual activities is online “field trips” to museums, national parks, and natural wonders. Kari Staron is the director of social services and activities with Altercare Integrated Health Services. She said:

“We have done a lot of what we call virtual field trips. We’re always trying to look at different layers of engagement and making sure people stay connected to things they previously liked in the community.”

Technology for Staff

Technology will help with care as well. Remote patient monitoring and telehealth-related initiatives are top tech investments. BASE10 Infection Control is a software platform to automate data entry by pulling from electronic medical records (EMR) and tracking infected residents in-house.

National for profit chain SavaSeniorCare is implementing technology with vital sign cards that integrate directly into its EMR. Sava will invest in scales and other equipment to import a resident’s weight and other vitals to save time. Sava Senior Care chief nursing officer Tony Costa said:

“Staffing is such a key issue, and will be our number one priority throughout the pandemic. While there’s only so much we can do to drive more staff into the buildings, what are those things that we can be doing in order to make our organizations more efficient, or processes more streamlined, in order to give the time back in meaningful ways to our centers, and to our team?”

MatrixCare disclosed Clinical Advanced Insights which is a machine learning tool that uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to identify residents’ conditions and fall risk and alert staff to intervene. Clinical Advanced Insights analyzes a broad set of unique data elements, including resident demographics, active diagnoses, medications, Braden assessments, and fall history. Facility staff can drill down into each by floor, wing, or resident and view individual risk factors as well as changes in condition over a period of time.