While it may be said that elderly individuals are far less likely to take advantage of technological innovations, increasing numbers of seniors own smartphones and tablets. They might have to turn to their grandchildren or even great-grandchildren to show them how to use it and set things up, but once they get the hang of things, they have a tendency to use them more frequently.
While many of the apps may not have significant practical applications for aging seniors, some of them certainly do, including video communication setups. There are numerous apps that allow people to video chat with family and friends and while this may not seem to be a significant factor for in-home care support, it is providing a new outlet for men and women who are dealing with certain health issues and may need regular monitoring.
By using video communication tools, aging seniors have an opportunity to ‘check in’ with their doctor or even a nurse for proper monitoring, which could be akin to one of these professionals stepping into a hospital room to do a routine check. A doctor, for example, could see her patient on the screen, request to take a look at their eyes more closely, see a rash, or even check other parts of their body to make sure there are no visible complications at play.
These video options are helping to improve access to care while allowing people to remain where they are most comfortable: at home. As reported by The Telegraph in its news blog, Care home residents offered NHS Skype calls in bid to cut hospital visits, written by Laura Donnelly:
“Care home residents are being offered NHS consultations by Skype in a bid to cut needless hospital visits. The pilot scheme, which also means staff can get medical advice quickly, has been linked to a 30 per cent reduction in visits to Accident & Emergency departments.
The on-call Skype NHS team takes calls from care home staff, wardens working in sheltered accomodation and community workers.
Instead of an ambulance being automatically dispatched, doctors and nurses can assess cases virtually, providing advice on the spot.”
As these video communication technologies continue to improve and become more stable, it will allow increasing numbers of aging seniors the opportunity to consult with their doctors or nurses, ask questions, and stay on top of their health, which can improve care, recovery, and ultimately reduce the risk of hospital readmissions.