Enabling Technologies can help Alzheimer’s Patients Stay at Home

Aging in place and enabling technologies like GrandCare Systems have been empowering seniors to remain healthy, safe, and happy at home.


By Heather Kelly, CNN
August 25, 2014
edition.cnn.com

 

Sensors let Alzheimer’s patients stay at home, safely

(CNN) — Mary Lou doesn’t know that she’s being tracked.

The 77-year-old is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s and though she lives on her own, her family keeps close tabs on her. If she leaves her Washington D.C. home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., a silent sensor on her front door texts her daughter an alert.

[...]

“It’s kept her to the point where we haven’t even had to have in-home care yet. Our goal is to keep her in her home for as long as possible,” said her daughter Cathy Johnson.

Caregivers like Johnson are increasingly turning to smart-home technology and wearable devices to monitor family members with Alzheimer’s and dementia, helping them live independently longer. One of the first things Alzheimer’s patients lose is the ability to learn new things. It makes getting their bearings and adjusting to a new residence especially difficult. But living alone can pose its own dangers, such as leaving a stove on, wandering off or forgetting to take medication.

“Often, decisions about care are made when safety becomes an issue” said said Beth Kallmyer, vice president of constituent services for the Alzheimer’s Association. Tools like these sensors “can allow people to feel more comfortable” and ease the transition.

Read more at edition.cnn.com.


GrandCare Systems

System Comp HR NEWIndustry pioneer GrandCare Systems, provides the most trusted and comprehensive caregiving technology on the market. Since 2005, GrandCare has enabled individuals to remain healthier, happier, and more independent.

The GrandCare interactive touchscreen gives residents the option to control communications and view specific pictures, listen to audio messages, check calendar appointments, visit designated web sites, play games and brain exercises, and video chat with family.

Using a series of wireless activity sensors and digital health devices, the system can notify designated caregivers by phone, email, or text if something seems amiss.

For more information visit GrandCare Systems online at GrandCare.com.

GrandCare chosen to be showcased by Knute Nelson at MN State Fair

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Tuesday, August 19th, 2014, Alexandria, Minnesota –
Knute Nelson will be located on the “Front Porch” of the Older But Wiser Living exhibit on Friday, August 22, 2014. Knute Nelson was selected to showcase their use of GrandCare technology based on experiences incorporating into their approach to delivering health care.

“We are excited to be working with such an innovative and forward-thinking organization like Knute Nelson,” said GrandCare’s CEO, Dan Maynard. “Home care and long term care agencies across the nation should watch how Knute Nelson so seamlessly integrates the GrandCare technology into their service offerings.”

Knute NelsonKnute Nelson has seen significant results using GrandCare, including increased direct patient care coordination and transitions for patients and their caregivers, reducing hospitalizations by establishing and monitoring vital sign parameters for daily living. By monitoring vital signs, earlier detection of changes in disease process and engagement of patients and their caregivers. Knute Nelson has developed our smart home programming using GrandCare technology with the assistance of several grants (the Blandin Foundation, Home and Community-based Services Performance-based Incentive Payment Program and CS/SD from the MN Department of Human Services).

A day of education and innovation is planned for Friday, August 22 at the Minnesota State Fair, with presentations on the “Front Porch” running hourly from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The presentation schedule is as follows:

10:00 “It Takes a Village!” Overview of Aging Services.
A broad overview of products and services with a focus on technology. This session will provide highlights of other sessions throughout the day.

11:00 “What Can Technology Do For Me?” –Our GrandCare Demo.
This will include a robust demonstration of GrandCare, highlighting features like telemonitoring, patient education, socialization, cognitive stimulation, and remote family caregiving.

12:00 “Who Pays for This?” Acknowledging Innovation in Older Adult Services.
We will demonstrate a variety of ways in which families can fund technology use in their home, with a focus on proposed legislation designed to enhance Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services.

1:00 “What Can Technology Do For Me?” –Our GrandCare Demo.
This will include a robust demonstration of GrandCare, highlighting features like telemonitoring, patient education, socialization, cognitive stimulation, and remote family caregiving.

2:00 “The New Bucket List.” Supporting Adults with Life-Limiting Illness.
This session will discuss the ways in which technology and home based services can support those living with life- limiting illness with focus on family communication, safety, audio content and life review process.

3:00 “I Want To Live At Home” Supporting Seniors at Home.
We will discuss the ways in which technology and services can support those wanting to live safely at home as long as possible, with a focus on vital signs monitoring, chronic disease management, patient education, socialization, cognitive stimulation, and remote family caregiving.

4:00 “How Can I Connect with my Family in California?” Utilizing Technology for Distance Caregiving.
During this session, we will provide an overview of how important remote connectivity is and the value in family communication, then focus on the need for telecommunication industry providers to provide affordable, unbundled telehealth packages for seniors.

5:00 “A Second Brain” Technology Enabling and Prompting Clients with Memory Loss
Laura Mitchell, Chief Marketing Officer, and Scott Feldstein, Director of Product Management, both of GrandCare Systems will be presenting. Their focus will be on new technologies that support activities of daily living for today’s seniors.


About Knute Nelson
Knute Nelson, a 501c3 non-profit, faith-based corporation, is an innovative leader in senior housing and health care that offers a full family of services to the West Central Minnesota region. For information on Knute Nelson visit http://www.knutenelson.org or call 320-763-6653.


System Comp 2About GrandCare Systems
GrandCare Systems, founded in 2005, combines digital health assessment, biometric readings, activity of daily living sensing, medication management, smart home automation, video chat and virtual touch-based communications into the most comprehensive and fully featured technology in the private home market. GrandCare is designed for individuals seeking a caregiving solution for an aging loved one or for professional in-home, long term care or clinical caregiving providers. For more information, visit: http://www.grandcare.com or call 262-338-6147.

How to become a champion of technology

Whether your company provides housing or in-home care, you need tools you can count on. Many organizations feel overwhelmed by the processes of adopting new technologies to help improve care delivery, lower expenses, and raise revenue. Decision makers see the benefits of using a variety of technologies, but the idea of institutional change that impacts work flow can be daunting.

Organizations that focus on innovation shared insight on how to evaluate, implement and measure the success of technology. And to help you in your efforts, they highlighted areas to be cautious.

Choose your partner wisely
Kaitlin Cuffe, strategic initiatives coordinator at Eskaton in Northern California says the vendor and client relationship must be strong. Eskaton, a nonprofit focused on transforming the aging experience, looks for technology partners with similar culture and values.

“Typically we are approached by technology companies,” says Cuffe. “We have implemented a technology pilot proposal asking them to fill out a form eight questions long.” Staff time, resident time, costs associated, and process for uninstalling are uncovered before moving forward in the discussion. “Any time we get a proposal we send it out to the [Eskaton] people who would be interfacing,” explains Cuffe. Staff who are expected to work with the technology can give feedback in the decision making process.

Develop technology champions
“We go into a pilot with buy-in when there is a champion,” says Prentiss. “One to two champions serve as an internal point person.” Cuffe, Eskaton’s champion, is the person accountable to keep the project going. Cuffe’s role in the eight week pilot was to:

  1. Identify participants
  2. Coordinate program launch
  3. Schedule all program components
  4. Communicate to participants, stakeholders, and Lively customer support
  5. Develop and conduct surveys: A ten question baseline survey and 15-question post survey

Managing time and expectations is critical for the champion. While this pilot lasted only eight weeks, there was preplanning and post evaluation. Upon completing the evaluation, the decision will be made if it should be scaled.

Create a culture of technology
In 2013, Emeritus began testing the use of iPads with residents. Ginna Biak, National Director of Innovation and Resident Technology, conducted an eight building pilot where 5-10 iPads were made available for residents to check out. Weekly trainings were offered and Internet cafes and kiosks were deployed. Biak says they needed to “make it part of the culture”.

The iPads were loaded with apps Biak selected for social engagement and entertainment. Two vendors who understand the mission and the industry were selected. LivWell Health built the platform on Sales Force and Sitelligence developed an iPad app for resident and staff use.

“Not a lot of technology companies are understanding the silver tsunami,” says Biak. “It’s encouraging to see the big companies are starting to.” During a recent pilot in Freemont, California, representatives from Apple attended the training. In this pilot, 20 residents were given iPads and a baseline survey. At the end of the pilot, a post survey will be conducted and compared to 20 resident surveys who did not receive the iPads.

Biak says they are “trying to come up with a more cohesive, comprehensive solution for a larger roll out.” It can be tough recruiting champions in a large organization, but according to Biak, changes in technology expectations and the new hire process helped shift the Emeritus culture and lay the foundation for a larger deployment.

Deploy small, then scale
Neil Tantingco, owner of Evergreen Residence, says technology is a key contributor to the 100% occupancy and waiting list. In 2013, he began testing technology in two of the apartments in his Central California assisted living and memory care units. “I didn’t know how it would be accepted by my residents or how difficult it was to set up,” explains Tantingco. “I didn’t want to invest all that money for something that may not be proven.” He put it to a litmus test:

  1. Will my residents use it?
  2. Will the family embrace it and use to the video conferencing to increase social interaction?
  3. How will my staff react to it?

Tantingco now uses GrandCare Systems throughout the community and as remote care monitoring for an in-home care solution. This allows him to serve the waiting list and others living in their own homes.

Tantingco recommends to always do a beta test, create a roll out schedule, and set a reasonable, attainable goal. “Roll it out small and develop a work flow. Make sure it doesn’t disrupt your business process.”

Define success before you start
Before testing, develop a hypothesis. For example:

If seniors use technology to communicate with family via email, video conferencing, or Lively Grams, then they will experience less social isolation, less depression, and their quality of life will improve.

Create a list of quality measurements. Your vendor can help you with the metrics. If not, engage with an academic institute or an industry association such as the Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST).

Success is not limited to just the resident experience. Make sure to include measurements of staff time and dollars invested in order to measure ROI.

 

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Visit www.grandcare.com for more information.