As the population continues to age there’s little doubt that, in future, more people will need or opt for residential care. Meanwhile, the amount of public funding available to pay for care seems unlikely to grow in real terms. Alongside all of this we have the continued development of new technologies designed to save effort and improve productivity.
Many have speculated on what these trends mean for the care home of the future. The only thing we can say for certain is that whatever is being predicted, the reality will probably prove to be rather different.
Will care home residents really be patting robotic pets while robotic helpers clean their rooms, serve their meals and dispense their medication? Surely the value of technology and innovation is in supporting, rather than replacing the human elements of care.
Here are a few of the technological advances that we see playing a role in the care home of the future.
Various types of assistive technology are being developed that could improve safety, wellbeing and quality of life for people who need care. Ambient monitoring systems have the capacity to monitor movement, temperature, falls and spills and other data that indicate health and activity levels. This can all provide useful data to complement observations by care staff to ensure that everyone gets the most appropriate care and can live as independently as possible.
What is unquestionable is that people are becoming more focused on the quality of care and the opportunities offered to live fuller and more active lives.
It also seems likely that robotic aids of various kinds could help people enjoy greater freedom of movement and maintain more of their physical capabilities. Similarly, augmented reality is proving its worth in providing immersive reminiscence experiences for people with dementia. And robotic pets can indeed help dementia sufferers cope with the stress their condition can cause. We have recently introduced an electronic interactive cat at Sherborne House. The cat demands attention, but this is in no short supply, the interaction and care from residents has been surprising for us and beneficial for residents.
Where technology is already helping is in the organisation, delivery and monitoring of care tasks. Within our care homes and or care at home service we are already using mobile technology that is helping to eliminate paperwork and manual effort from many aspects of what we do. Everything from patient care, to medication, incident reporting and food safety can be streamlined and better organised through technology.
A good care home of the future may look different from a care home of today. It will use different technologies. But what won’t change is the personal relationships and interactions that good care has always and will always depend on. To arrange a visit to one of our care homes to find out more information, contact us today on 01305 300161.