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 Alexandria Williams, University of Tampa
Technology has definitely come a long way through the last centuries and is still progressing into the future. The medical field shows how much technology has had an influence on the world with its many innovative ideas that have been discovered and created. Our senior citizens can also be a part of the future technology that is bound to be invented. Although many senior citizens have a difficult time adjusting to change and new ideas, many of these ideas can potentially help them live longer, or even allow them to be comfortable if they are in bad health. Senior citizens need the same high quality care or treatment than other patients because most of the time they are over-looked depending on their age and the type of illness or ailment they have.
There are many different improvements technology can use for seniors who are in in-home care that can make their time in in-home care very comfortable and at ease. One use for technology that can help improve an immobile patient who is unable to get out of his or her bed is having a massage mattress to massage the muscle to prevent bed sores or ulcers. Although, the nurses and caretakers are obligated to change and move patients periodically, massage is a great way to manipulate the muscles as well as comfort the patient especially if there is any pain. The mattress can massage any part of the body or the entire body at once, whatever the patient prefers. Another innovative idea is to help patients with prescriptions in which patients can have a remote device that allows automatic refills to be sent to pharmacists. Each patient can be issued his or her own remote device with color-coded buttons for each medication they are prescribed and when the patient is down to the last pills, they can press the buttons allowing the pharmacy to be automatically alerted to refill for the patient.
Another technological advance that can improve in-home care for seniors is for seniors to communicate through live feed to store associates to shop for groceries and necessities. The patient can video whatever store they shop at and visually see a sales associate who will do their grocery shopping for the patient right from their home if they are immobile. The live video will show on a screen in front of them and they will have access to direct the associate to whatever they need. The sales associate can then deliver the groceries to the location of the patient.
With these improvements to in-home care, patients can be more comfortable and make their time in in-home care as easy as possible. Technology can help reduce a lot of issues seniors encounter while in in-home care such as improper care of hygiene, neglect, and immobility. As a future worker in the healthcare industry, I am committed to assisting with the technology in improving in-home health care for American seniors and I know in the years to come, technology is on a great path in making the lives of seniors more enjoyable.
Alexandria is a full time nursing student at the University of Tampa.