In recent years, older and younger people with disabilities living at home are compensated for their functional limitations, by receiving personal assistance from human caregivers and through assistive technologies.
These assistive technologies range from common devices such as canes and ramps to more high technology devices such as electric wheelchairs and devices to monitor and prompt people with disabilities to take medicine and perform other tasks like eating.
But among these assistive technologies, electric wheelchairs have been one of the popular and sought-after equipment used for home health care services. Known as power wheelchairs, they’re used to provide greater mobility to people with disabilities or those who are bound to stay in one place due to injuries or illnesses. Generally, using a folding power wheelchair has many benefits. It offers optimal practicality since it’s much lighter, smaller, and portable. It’s also much easier and quicker to set up because all you need to do is unfold the equipment and connect a joystick for it to function properly. Moreover, it’s much safer since it’s made from durable materials. Lastly, most electric wheelchairs have stylish designs and additional postural support features that provide better seating positions for the users to avoid potential long-term health conditions.
With all these things being said, there’s no question why electric wheelchairs and other assistive technologies are important in offering quality home health care services. On the other hand, if assistive technology is a substitute for personal assistance, such as when a cane is used rather than relying on a human caregiver, then cost savings may be possible by promoting its use. Alternatively, if assistive technology is a complement, meaning both are used together, such as when a mechanical lifting device is used by a personal assistant for transferring a person to and from the bed, then providing such technology will increase costs to the extent that it is provided, although it may reduce the unmet need (Agree & Freedman, 2003).
With the population of the UK living longer than it ever has done, the needs in terms of home healthcare services will become more complex. Because of this, care services for older people at homes need to introduce larger amounts of advanced and assistive technologies.
Along with this. Home healthcare 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 specializes in home health care services for the blind and care for older people at homes in Paisley, they look at how home care will be run in the future, and how the technologies are going to be implemented revolutionize the way patients are cared for.
Why the use of various assistive technologies would substantially reduce informal care hours but modestly increase formal care hours is uncertain. One possibility is that both informal and formal caregivers also benefit from assistive technology use by care recipients. More obviously, informal caregivers such as family and friends effectively decrease their care time and responsibility if assistive technology is used.
But formal caregivers may also benefit from assistive technology use if they would have been providing even more care had it not been for assistive technology use by their care recipients.
Formal care providers may be instrumental in recommending assistive technology for heavy care recipients to keep care hours under the authorized amount of care by third-party payers and to potentially prevent injury to workers, both of which are benefits that accrue largely to public payers.
Given that most assistive technology types had no effect on formal care hours, some assistive technology may make the job of formal caregivers easier even if it modestly increases formal care hours.
Quality in Home Health care services
Research has proposed that in the next 20 years, home care 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
The design of home care 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 be prioritized 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.
Innovative Technologies For Home healthcare services
Technology is also becoming more advanced and will continue within home healthcare services. They will help to ensure the safety of patients within homes care while allowing them to live healthier and longer lives.
Sensors are being utilized in homes care 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 recognize 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 doctors or healthcare providers to be able to monitor how well they 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 a 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.
Independence For home healthcare services
The lack of independence increases for those living in-home care, 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 to 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.
The report, ‘Silver Chic: The future of retirement housing and care’ contains two computer-generated images that depict how home healthcare services could look in fifty years time. The designs are complete with ambient monitoring walls, rotating gardens, and virtual pets for residents, and are complete with the latest innovations and modern design features.
The designs produced as part of the Silver Chic housing report are the result of a workshop that saw policy experts, people from the housing sector, architects, designers, and a CGI expert come together to discuss ideas around the themes of community, comfort, connectivity and physical and financial security
Robotics For home healthcare services
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 a 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 visually impaired and those who are blind.
Even though we aren’t there yet, the future of home healthcare services looks promising for both staff and patients. The technologies that are already being used in homes care 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.
Moreover, as the world continues to evolve, technology will also remain an important part of providing top-notch quality home care services for older people and the sick. With the help of modern technological advancements, caring for the elderly and those with terminal illnesses don’t have to be very challenging. Lastly, getting home care services with the help of technology can offer essential benefits. These can include personalized care and attention, diet and nutritional support, effective caring companionship, quality time with family, professional medication management, independence and security, and inexpensive alternative to care facilities.