The following is a guest post by Christian Golden of TrustRadius.
In the digital age, ordinary folks have more freedom to conduct their own medical research than ever before. According to Pew, approximately 72% of caregivers do independent medical research online and 52% participate in health-related social activity on the internet.
Importantly, digital technology’s impact on our medical practices is not restricted to professional clinical settings. Senior and hospice care at home have also been transformed by the wealth of accessible information about health care. It’s important to consider how you can implement new technology to help your caregivers provide better care than ever.
But with so many resources at your fingertips, it’s easy to get lost. We’ll impose some order on the chaos below, where we review six tech tools designed to help your caregivers succeed.
1. Get in Motion, Stay in Motion
Nothing’s more analog than picking up and moving your body for health and wellness, but digital resources exist for helping hospice and home caregivers motivate and monitor their patients on their road to recovery or personal potential.
For instance, wearable fitness trackers record cardiovascular measurements, steps taken, distance walked, and so on, all of which can be used to mark progress toward fitness goals.
2. Virtual Safety Nets
TruSense, Canary Care, and similar home monitoring systems use remote sensors to alert caregivers or emergency personnel to the presence of red flags like long periods of inactivity by a senior while at home. Having an electronic safety net in place gives caregivers the peace of mind they need while helping those in their care to remain active and live independently.
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3. Med Monitors
Other digital tools exist to help caregivers administer medication in a timely and consistent fashion. Systems like TabSafe, MedMinder, and others can be used to remind seniors and hospice patients as well as their caregivers of when to take or dispense prescription medication.
What’s more, mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, such as MedCoach, make these tools available on the move.
4. Consult from Home
Telemedicine has made it possible to go beyond monitoring health progress and outcomes at home, and receive professional medical consultations from the comfort and security of home.
The Medical Director of Telemedicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Dr. Andrew R. Watson, explained to US News & World Report that telehealth’s benefits to medical care include fewer hospital visits and readmissions, reduced costs, improved treatment and diagnosis, and greater doctor/patients engagement, especially in rural areas.
5. Get Social
Social isolation and loneliness are among the most acute risk factors for seniors Loneliness and social isolation. This is partly due to the common elderly experiences of reduced mobility and greater loss of loved ones.
Folks in all age groups need to socialize to stay well. But when hanging out in person is not an option, video chatting and email correspondence are valuable stopgaps. Studies even show that an association between social media use and reduced loneliness and improved health outcomes across the spectrum from mental to physical.
6. Brain Benefits
Screen time is not the boogeyman it’s often made out to be—at least in healthy doses. Video games and internet browsing have been shown to increase elderly function and mitigate the mental hazards of aging.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for your caregivers’ efforts to help their patients lead healthy and independent lives. Digital technology at most provides another set of tools for delivering good wellness outcomes. But when used in the right combination, alongside traditional medical resources, they can be valuable allies.
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