Technology advances at an exponential rate, improving quality of life and efficiency across all sectors. Healthcare technology is hot right now, but technology tailored for skilled nursing and other senior housing facilities has been lagging. Facility owners and operators that can identify and implement useful technologies now may be able to set themselves apart from the competition by increasing efficiency, quality of care, and resident satisfaction. A few technologies that those in the senior housing industry may want to consider include the following.
Wearable Health Monitors
Wearable health monitors that track an individual’s vitals and other health information effortlessly can be used in a variety of ways. The information can be reviewed by treating physicians who are able to obtain an overall picture of the patients’ vitals, rather than at the moment provided by vital checks during a medical visit. These technologies can also be used for real-time monitoring that allows for early identification of a potentially life-threatening condition – for example, the new appearance of an irregular heartbeat.
Though they provide many opportunities to improve the quality of life of seniors, there are risks associated with the technology that senior housing operators should take steps to guard against. Data from these monitors is typically transmitted electronically and the FTC has cautioned that this transmittal poses the risk that the monitored individual’s private health information will be hacked, posing security and privacy risks. Even with this potential risk, the FTC acknowledged the benefit these technologies can have for those living in senior housing communities.
Falls pose one of the greatest risks to seniors living in senior housing facilities and there is a corresponding liability for senior housing owners and operators. New monitoring systems can identify unusual changes in movement and alert staff who can check on the resident. These systems can be used in independent living communities, allowing a senior to safely live autonomously for longer. Unlike monitoring systems of the past, these newer technologies rely on motion, not cameras or microphones, and thus don’t require seniors to sacrifice privacy for safety.
Devices, like tablets, can be used in a variety of ways to improve the health and well-being of seniors living in senior housing. On the most basic level, the devices can help seniors, particularly those with limited mobility, keep in touch with friends and family through video chats and e-mail. Some facilities, like Grapevine Senior Retirement Community in Seattle are giving all of their residents iPads. In addition to communication, the devices provide access to news, books, and other entertainment. Devices can also be used for brain training to help maintain or improve mental function.
The Cost of Technology
Adding new technology to a facility has many benefits but implementation is often costly. The senior housing finance experts at Cambridge Realty Capital can help you determine whether refinancing or another approach is a cost-effective means of obtaining the capital you need for new technology and other facility improvements.