Wednesday 14th March, 2018
What will care homes be like in the future?
Modern technology is everywhere, and it’s
changing fast too. Google’s voice activated Google Assistant and Amazon’s Echo
were some of the biggest sellers last Christmas, and it is predicted that the
voice recognition industry will be worth some £450 million by next year. The
internet in general has taken over our homes, with almost 90 per cent of adults
using the internet on a regular basis.
And it’s not just young people who are
benefitting from new technology either. Recent statistics show that around four
in every 10 over 75’s have used the internet within the last three months, and
that internet use among women aged over 75 has trebled since 2011. With all
this technology at our fingertips, it makes sense for care homes to look at
ways that new innovations can improve the experience for their residents too.
Our technology right now
Here at Blenheim House, we are proud to
embrace many of the latest technological innovations to help our residents stay
connected, challenge themselves and live better. Already in place in our home
are things like:
· Acoustic monitoring: This technology
allows our care team to monitor residents during the night without the need to
undertake intrusive periodic room checks.
· Electronic Care and Medication Management
software: These innovations efficiently record key information at
the point of delivery, allowing our teams to spend more quality time with our
· Maintenance and Health and Safety Software: Ensures compliance and identifies best
· IT Suites and Wi-Fi: Our home has high-speed
Wi-Fi throughout, along with tablet computers for use by our residents. With
our help, they are able to Skype relatives, look up information and send emails
on a daily basis. There are also PC’s for use in our modern IT suites. We offer
support and silver surfers workshops to help residents understand how to use
them, so that they can reap the benefits of a more connected lifestyle.
· Cinema: We have a full in-home cinema
for residents to watch movies on the big screen with family and friends.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As new technology is developed, we are constantly assessing what could benefit
What will care homes look like in the future?
There is much research taking place into
how new technology can be adapted and used in the care setting. Some of the
most exciting things we’ve heard about include:
· Assistive technology: As virtual
assistants such as Alexa become smarter, their usefulness can be augmented. In
a care home, these could be employed to remind people to take medication, to
help them locate lost items, to communicate with a carer of family member, or
even to sound an alarm in case of an emergency.
· Administration assistance: Electronic
documentation systems can make it easier and faster for care workers to
administer their services. Paperwork in care can be a heavy burden, so any
technology that can relieve workers of this burden could see more people with
more time to devote to caring, instead of being tied up filling in forms.
· Ambient monitoring technology: We want
our residents to be safe and well, but we also want to help them to remain as
independent as possible. Ambient monitoring technology can let them do more for
themselves, without being put at risk, so that they can cook, move around and undertake
other tasks, all whilst under the watchful eye of a completely unobtrusive
· Smarter homes for less mobile people:
With the ability to integrate voice activated technology into virtually any
device, the possibilities for residents to have more control over the environment,
even if they are severely mobility impaired, is truly exciting. Simply asking
their assistant to ‘open the window’, ‘turn off the light’ and ‘play something
by Mozart’ could see a whole world of new possibilities arriving for our less
· Wearable health monitoring: Already many
of us track our heart rate and steps each day with fitness trackers, so it’s
only a small step forward to see these devices tracking respiration, fluid
retention and other medical conditions. This could reduce the need for hospital
admissions, and lead to faster diagnosis and earlier intervention.
There are many more exciting innovations on the
horizon, from robotic suits to help stroke victims walk to holographic virtual
pets; the future of care homes is looking very exciting indeed. However, as we
always stress to anyone talking about investing in technology, tech should
augment care, not replace it. Nothing in the technological world can ever
provide what a well-trained, motivated care assistant can, but it could make
their jobs easier, allowing them more time to engage with residents in a