Reporting on the latest innovations impacting seniors

Skynet Healthcare Tech Improves Senior Care

 

Senior care communities strive to provide the best possible care for residents. With the growing number of aging individuals, it becomes a struggle for community operators to provide top-quality services. Many facilities now embrace technology as a solution. Skynet Healthcare Technologies offers one such innovation that improves quality of care in significant ways. Modern facilities are quickly implementing Skynet’s RTLS solution to increase resident safety, examine workflow patterns, and offer family members more peace-of-mind. 



What is RTLS?

RTLS stands for “Real Time Location System.” This technology was originally used in an industrial setting, to locate and manage assets. As the technology improved in its accuracy; it found applications in care-based industries, like monitoring residents in senior care facilities. The Skynet system is built on indoor positioning technology that delivers precise and immediate information regarding the location of any tagged item or individual. Wireless receiver and tag technologies offer positioning accuracy by seamlessly transmitting location data to reporting software platforms.



How does it improve care?


Resident Health and Safety

Numerous benefits are acquired from the analysis of information obtained from Skynet’s RTLS. Increased resident safety is among the top advantages communities experience with this system. For example, staff members can call for assistance without leaving a residence side. Facility managers can easily view care metrics, including the ability to monitor interactions between residents and caregivers. This may decrease the impact of flu or other illnesses. Most importantly, RTLS provides discrete and flexible solutions to reduce incidents of resident wandering, and access to unauthorized areas. This tech helps track patients by pinpointing their location. It allows facilities to keep residents safe without compromising their freedom of mobility. It can also help prevent abuse by accurately detecting residents, staff, visitors, vendors, and equipment. This is useful information for ensuring resident security and safety.


Family Relationships

Obviously, family members of senior care residents take an interest in the quality of care provided by a community. Therefore, assisted-living facilities focus on improving care and sharing care-related information with family members. RTLS supplies immediate, specific, time-stamped data associated with individual residents. The data is always readily available and easily communicated to family members through reports and other visual representations. Care managers can produce detailed logs of various care metrics.


Workflow Evaluation

Forward-thinking community operators constantly seek the most innovative, effective, and efficient ways to improve care. In order to retain residents, attract new ones, and ensure satisfaction, community leaders turn to technology for answers. Tracking and understanding workflow is one of the many ways RTLS helps facilities operate more efficiently. 

Timestamp visibility is a unique feature of  this technology, which precisely tracks workflow. Caregivers can better understand specific milestones in a caregiving process. This technology offers databased insights required to align staff levels to cyclical needs. Operators can manage resources more efficiently, and attain maximum resident satisfaction. It allows for fast response and attention to individual needs. Community managers can make informed decisions using the data gathered by RTLS regarding equipment and staffing levels throughout the facility. Additionally, the system provides significant insights that help staff understand workflow and patterns. They can timestamp personnel related events and locations. This provides real-time answers to important questions community operators ask, such as.

  • Which events create peaks and valleys in staffing needs?
  • How much staffing is required for daily care activities like bathing and meals?
  • How is resident satisfaction influenced by staff capacity?
  • When are caregivers spending time with residents?
  • What are staff response times and frequency? 

This data provides valuable insights to community managers. They can better understand where additional staff and equipment is needed. They can also detect problems and put actions in place to correct issues. It allows community managers to optimize staffing, increase efficiency, and improve staff responsiveness and resident care. 

About Skynet Healthcare Technologies



According to their website:

“ Headquartered in Tampa Bay, FL, Skynet Healthcare Technologies delivers comprehensive smart technology solutions to the senior living market. Skynet provides emergency call, real-time location system (RTLS), and technology partnership to enhance resident safety and provide better analytics for communities.”

From our research, we conclude that Skynet is a highly-regarded company with a genuine goal to improve the lives of seniors. Their use of cutting-edge innovation gives them a unique position to offer senior care communities new advanced solutions. We expect to see increased demand for these systems as the “silver tsunami” rolls in. 


Understanding the Senior Care Contiuum

  

The senior care continuum refers to the various stages of living and care. As we age, we move along the continuum.  Our needs change over time. Each level of care and living situation offers different services, based on the requirements of the resident. See the chart below.

Senior Care Continuu,

Caring for Wandering Seniors with Dementia

Additional Information


 If an elderly is spotted wandering the streets with no companions and looking confused or lost, there’s a great chance that he/she is suffering from a type of dementia. Wandering is a common  symptom of various types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. 


What triggers the elderly with dementia to wander off

Wandering behavior may be caused by various reasons. Some of them are memory problems, boredom, excess energy, anxiety, discomfort, and even pain. Sometimes an 

elderly person with Alzheimer’s mixes up the time and gets confused if it’s night or day. Meanwhile, some elderly people who have been used to walking would just love to continue doing it. 


Moving to a new house and environment is another trigger of wandering behavior. Some dementia patients would experience confusion especially when they move to a new home. This would drive them to go out and wander in search of the home they know. 

Delusions can also trigger a patient to wander. Seniors with dementia can grow anxious and delusional. They can easily feel nostalgic of a place they’ve been to from the past and they will try to find it again.

Some medications can worsen a patient’s existing agitation which then drives one to go out and wander. There are instances wherein they would feel bored, uncomfortable, or restless so they would go out to find comfort. 


Why wandering behavior can be dangerous

Typically, wandering seniors are not in danger. They usually go around areas near their homes. But there are cases wherein they get lost from wandering too far. There’s a grave risk of getting hurt or not being able to come back home. 

According to statistics, 1 out of 14 wandering dementia patients doesn’t survive within 12 hours of being lost. Sadly, 1/3 of them survive when they go missing for 24 hours, and only 1 out of 5 survives for 72 hours.

What’s worse is that some patients won’t ask anyone for help or directions. Some may not even remember their own names or addresses and may become afraid and disoriented.

A dementia patient may show a tendency to wander at any given time and this may increase in severity as the condition worsens. As brain cells diminish, episodes of wandering also increase.


When wandering behavior is OK 

Clearly, wandering poses a lot of threats to an elderly’s safety and well-being. But there have also been opinions about its benefits.

When seniors wander, they usually walk long distances. Walking is definitely a beneficial form of exercise, especially for elderly people. Many suggest that wandering could be encouraged in a secure living environment. 

While the idea of wandering being beneficial may be true, it is still important to keep a close eye on dementia patients. Safety precautions must be strictly followed to keep senior wanderers from harm’s way.


How wandering episodes can be prevented from happening too often

Episodes of wandering behavior can’t be totally prevented. But certain measures should be observed so they won’t happen every day. Here are some tips to block wandering behavior triggers:

  • For      dementia patients who don’t recognize their own home, try putting up signs      and decluttering the home to make their environment safe when they wander.
  • Individuals      who experience delusions and agitation can be given self-soothing      repetitive tasks. This will help them become less worried and anxious.      Some of these recommended activities are painting, knitting, arranging      books, and even simply washing dishes.
  • When      signs of agitation worsen, check the medication the individual is      currently taking — some medications can actually worsen agitation. Consult      a doctor immediately and find out if the medications need to be changed.
  • If      dementia patients show signs of discomfort or restlessness, find out      what’s causing them. They might be feeling hungry or the temperature might      be too hot or cold for them. Make sure that they have all their basic      needs. Don’t wait for them to wander off looking for comfort elsewhere.
  • Relieve      their boredom by encouraging them to try out new activities or hobbies that      they can do regularly. It’s      also a great idea to let the whole family participate in the activity with      the patient.


How to care for wandering individuals with Alzheimer’s

Caring for dementia patients is not an easy task. Medical experts strongly suggest that people who are close to the dementia patient be the ones to look after them. Hired caregivers with acquired knowledge and professional training could also be an option if the family members are having difficulty in executing caregiving tasks.

When hiring caregivers, keep in mind that they should be given personal information about the patients they’ll be caring for. A patient’s life history, health and physical concerns, and temperament are some of the information that a caregiver needs to know.

Here are other important things to keep in mind when dealing with a dementia-driven wandering patient:

  • Make      sure that the home is a safe place for the wandering patient. Some      examples of safety measures are painting doors the same color as the walls      (to prevent them from going out) and installing devices such as motion      detectors.
  • Have      the patient wear anything that has his/her information. IDs inside a      wallet might not be too helpful when the wallet gets lost. A medical ID      bracelet and a sewn-on ID on their clothes may be the best options. The      identification should include their condition, address, and people to call      in case they’re found wandering.
  • Use      tracking apps and devices that would immediately show where the patients      are in case they go missing.
  • Brief      local law enforcers and neighbors about the patient’s conditions. They      must be made aware of the patient’s tendency to wander. This will make      finding the patients faster in case they get lost. Doing this also gives      the families assurance that there’s always a watchful eye on their loved      ones. Provide copies of their photo and the contact details of the person      to call in case they come across the wandering patients.

Looking after people suffering from dementia can be challenging. This can be stressful for caregivers and families especially when dealing with a wandering senior. Even the best caregivers in the world won’t be able to keep their eyes on their patients 24/7. The most realistic way of securing the safety and welfare of a dementia-driven wanderer is by being educated, prepared, and patient.



  Written by Senior Tech News journalist Zach Cibert 2018  

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