What to Look for With Nursing Home Technology
Written by Jeff Meyer on August 12, 2015
What to Look for With Nursing Home Technology
Technology can be a great thing when it is put to use in a nursing home setting. According to skilled nursing experts, the use of technology by both the residents and staff leads to an enormous list of benefits. Not only is it something that streamlines and improves the quality of administrative tasks, record keeping and management, and patient care, it allows treatment to be more patient-focused than ever.
Perhaps one of the most important things to look for when considering nursing homes is the quality of care, and technology can improve it. One group reports that resident communication is on the rise, especially electronic communication. This includes email options, texting, and even the use of social media, and the result is that residents as well as staff use technology to manage health and care. The outcomes are remarkable, and include behavior modification that improves chronic conditions, better diet and nutrition, more fitness and exercise, less reliance on tobacco or alcohol, more family connectivity, better social lives, and even better use of medications.
What should you look for with nursing home technology? There are several areas to consider:
- Patient access to technology
- Technology used for care and administrative tasks
- Technology at work for safety and security
Staff Benefits Equal Patient Benefits
Computer stations, data pads or tablets, and electronic monitoring are some of the technological equipment you will want to see when touring a potential nursing home.
Just the ease with which health data can be retrieved and/or stored proves that nursing home technology is remarkably beneficial. Identification, admissions, assessments, care plans, directives or consents, histories, physician notes and orders, nursing documentation, medications, reports and tests, therapeutic details, social service information, nutritional information, and activities data are all available instantly thanks to technology.
More advanced technologies, described as results management, can help accurately measure the “relationship between management practice and resident outcomes,” (SkilledNursingFacilities.org). As an example, pain management or fall programs can be tracked and implemented better thanks to nursing home technology.
The use of electronic communications and technologies also helps with order entry – whether that is medications or lab tests, referrals or procedures, technologies speed things up while reducing risks for error. Technologies also help with decision-making and efficiency, providing residents with better quality of care and improved safety.
Naturally, safety is one of the primary reasons someone might consider nursing home care for a loved one or even themselves, and here too technology greatly improves the results.
Nursing Home Technology and Safety
Every year there are hundreds to thousands of complaints filed by residents of nursing homes. In many instances, the complaints focus on abuse or neglect. Technologies, as we have seen, may help reduce some of the errors leading to complaints. Technology might also help with the issues relating to staffing. After all, another common problem leading to claims of neglect or abuse arise because nursing homes are understaffed, and some staff may feel overwhelmed or undertrained.
Technologies can save time, prevent many mistakes, and even help with what is known as “education technology”. For instance, trained medical professionals can now use modern nursing home technologies such as vein finders, advanced monitoring systems, telemedicine allowing physicians to remotely provide premium patient care, and more.
Safety is also available to residents using nursing home technology, including medical alert systems for falls, vital sign issues, wandering or dementia, emergencies, and more. Technology includes pre-packaged medications to prevent human error and improper dosages.
Of course, cameras and recording devices quality as technology, and you also want to choose a facility that relies on security cameras. Though these don’t always prevent abuse or neglect, they are among the strongest deterrents. If you or a loved one has suffered neglect or abuse, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney and the authorities, if the facility is using technology, it could help you prove your case!
SkilledNursingFacilities.org. Nursing Home Technology. http://www.skillednursingfacilities.org/resources/nursing-home-technology/