With the population of the UK living longer than it ever has done, the needs in terms of healthcare will become more complex. Because of this, care homes need to introduce larger amounts of advanced and assistive technologies.
Along with this. Care Home providers will also be expected to create sustainable living environments to provide appropriate care to those that require a lot of supervision and attention.
Considering the lack of government funding, that is bringing doubts to the future of care homes, together with the Royal Blind Society – specialists in care homes for the blind and care homes in Paisley, we look at how care homes will be run in the future, and how the technologies are going to be implemented revolutionise the way patients are cared for.
Quality in care
Research has proposed that in the next 20 years, care homes funded by both private means and social care will highlight the quality within their systems. The reasons for this is because it’s endorsed that this strategy will give the potential for patients to ‘live longer and healthier lives’ as Jane Ashcroft expressed in the Silver Chic report in the future of care homes.
The design of Care home, will be of quality standard as housing will be implemented on a turntable, to help those living there to be exposed to sunlight for the longer periods of time. Along with connectivity which will prioritised as well, to will help combat loneliness. To achieve this, care villages will put in small bridges that will intersect various gardens, allowing residents to be close to a natural environment and giving them a chance to be amongst other residents within the community.
Technology is also becoming more advanced and will continue to within Care Homes. They will help to ensure the safety of patients within care homes while allowing them to live healthier and longer lives.
Sensors are being utilised in care homes and are placed in rooms and systems within the buildings to alert staff when a patient has fallen, or if they’ve stopped moving. Patients living with dementia are being helped with clusters within buildings that can be coloured variously, with different lighting so they are able to recognise their own living quarters.
There are also technologies that can be swallowed when combined with drugs in a pill form. Once the pill is swallowed and has dissolved in the stomach, a signal is picked up and data can be sent to a smartphone device.
This technology allows patients and clinicians to be able to monitor how well they are keep on their medication; if they’re showing negatives to a certain type of medication, then this can be corrected as early as possible and the medication can be changed to help with the patient’s health and needs.
Other technologies such as automated dosage systems have been developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where a small implantable device can release medication from inside the body, controlled by an embedded microchip. This benefits patients suffering long term conditions or for woman on contraception, as it gives them the right dosage without them having to physically consume the medication.
These types of technologies will be specifically designed to ensure the comfort for patients and help guarantee their safety while living in care.
The lack of independence increase for those living in care homes, so there are technologies being designed to support them so that they can live in a more self-sufficient way.
Wearable technology which is currently being used to help monitor heart rates, steps and distance covered – but in the future, they will be able monitor fluid retention and respiratory rates which will help lower hospital admissions because they will allow patients to understand their own symptoms more effectively before they require medical assistance. Hospital-level diagnostic at home is known to be introduced in the future to give those who require care with a better quality of life, giving them portable X-ray machines, blood—testing kits and other technologies that will improve the patients’ independence allowing them to self-diagnose themselves without having to leave their homes or point of care.
These will also be developed to help calm down dementia sufferers who have to deal with extreme stress, used within robotic pets that can be interacted with human touch and respond in an intelligent way.
Robots are going to be able to help with genera; tasks such as helping patients get in and out of bed, while wearable robotic suits will be used to assist patients with arthritis to stand and walk, and they will also help those with severe-mobility problems get around more comfortably.
Robotically controlled Curtains, lights and other devices will be available and will be able to be controlled through voice commands, which will help those who are visual impaired and those who are blind.
Even though we aren’t there yet, the future of care homes looks promising for both staff and patients. The technologies that are already being used in care homes and the proposed systems will help patients lead more independent and comfortable lives so that they can live a happier and healthier life for longer.