About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
How can the healthcare industry use technology to improve in-home care for American seniors?
Essay response by Amanda Alderete-Molina, Texas A&M University-San Antonio
To improve the health care industry technology we could use, telemedicine technology. The National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center has created a variety of services. People receiving in-home care have acute and chronic conditions. This project could be government funded and would provide accurate data to the physicians and nurses. I have four ideas; Fall Reduction Strategies, Congestive Heart Failure, Regimen Compliance and Telemedicine assessment. These ideas could pave the way to a more successful approach with in-home care. The ultimate goal is prevent emergency room visits.
Fall Reduction Strategies for in-home care in relation to technology starts with risk assessments at the patient home. My innovation strategies are to send patients metal handle bars, ramps, and adjustable beds to help with their day to day needs. Metal handle bars are vital to stability for disabled patients and seniors. Ramps are effective for those areas in house with steps that are potentially risks. Adjustable beds are vital for seniors in the morning and at night. This would insure patients safety for falling in and out of the bed.
Another helpful innovation is a one-on-one pharmacist via web. For instance, a patient has an issue with medicine instructions they could simply ask via web. This would lead to compliance which with medicine would also stop emergency room visit. These health care advancements will help the quality and safety of patients. Furthermore, technology advancement that would help in-home seniors is mobile blood pressure assessment. This could monitor BP and provide tips for patients to consider. These could be on their mobile device.
Blood pressure and heart problems fall in the category of chronic conditions. Congestive Heart Failure regimen compliance is based on improved health care literacy with home with CHF teaching. Telemedicine technology is the use of receiving the patient’s weight over via web. A major issue with CHF patients is their water weight. If there is an increase via teleweb the nurse would see the increase and prescribe medicine immediately. This will reduce the emergency room visit. Reducing the ER visit is the ultimate goal.
All of the systems need web bases support. This could be an issue because we are at the mercy of the federal and state government. I believe if physicians and nurses had better ways of collecting data efficiently and effectively this would increase communication and facts to resolve and find solutions. This is all about improving the technology of the in-home care for seniors. I am certain that all the recommendations given to you today would improve the life of seniors, nurses and physicians.
Amanda is a junior major for Business Administration in Human Resource Management at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.