Thursday, March 15, 2007

Nursing Home Technology

Part of the culture change that many look forward to seeing in more nursing homes is supportive of technology as a means of providing residents with more independence and dignity in daily living. Of course, the human touch still remains primary in patient interactions with others.

A major problem in implementing more technology is cost. Cuts in funding for nursing homes only make an already difficult situation worse. But we must still address the possibilities, particularly since many technological accommodations are already on the market. Five examples are these:

1) A vacuum assisted sponge that promotes blood circulation at the wound site and sucks out the infection

2) Robots that perform basic tasks that will allow staff to spend more hands-on time with patients and that remind residents of tasks they should do

3) Computer touch screens for nurse aides and others to update patient data at the point of care for immediate access and use elsewhere

4) Remote sensing technology that monitors motion, temperature, pressure on floors, chairs and beds, how patients walk, when they fall, restlessness in bed, as well as patients’ pulse and respiration

5) Wireless call systems that allow residents to call for assistance anywhere in the facility by pressing a button they wear that sends a message to a computer

The reality is that technology is needed to free more staff to handle the increasing numbers of patients who are living in nursing homes. Millions of baby boomers will need services in the very near future. In order to support our aging society, America needs more discussions and funding relating to technology.

At the age of 91, Naomi Long Madgett, Poet Laureate of Detroit, MI, enjoys using technology. Her good choices with the "new stuff" enhance her quality of life. You can read more about Naomi and iPad research with older adults here:
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog


  1. Fortunately some of this technology is becoming common in LTC facilities. Many use Caretracker touchscreen technology, which replaces written ADL documentation for CNAs. This allows for more thorough capture of true patient/resident outcomes on a real-time basis and also allows reporting to facility Administration.

    Also, our campus is now using a wireless call light system that allows residents to wear a pendant that can be activated from any location to alert all staff that attention is needed. The staff receive not only the resident name but also their location. Facility Administration can review reports based on response time and how various staff were involved.

    This technology has allowed our organization to move beyond traditional call light and documentation issues and focus on more specific customer service opportunities.

  2. dexter fieldsMarch 22, 2007

    Shani: Great articles. Can you obtain grants to do the things you suggest? d

  3. Thanks, D. That's a good idea. The administrators would handle the funding through various sources.

  4. Just been reading through bits and bobs on here and thankfully technology has now come on leaps and bounds in the last 3 years with many things being cost effective if you look for them in the right places. No amount of technology though will be a replacement for good palative care though it would be easy to think one day it will replace it!