What does the future look like for care homes?

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With the populations around the world that are beginning to live longer than they ever have, the needs in terms of healthcare will become more complex and the same thing applies to the UK. This means, that’s care homes need to introduce greater amounts of and more intelligent, assistive technologies.

Care Home providers will also need to create sustainable living environments in the long run, to provide appropriate care to those that require a lot of supervision and attention.

With the lack of government funding, that is bringing doubts to the future of care homes, together with the Royal Blind Society – specialists in care homes for the blind and care homes in Paisley, we evaluate how care homes will be run in the future, and assess the technologies that will revolutionise the way patients are cared for.

Quality
Research has suggested that in the next 20 years, care homes funded by both private means and social care will underline the quality within their ethos. The reasons for this is because it’s suggested that this strategy will give the potential for patients to ‘live longer and healthier lives’ as Jane Ashcroft suggested in the Silver Chic report in the future of care homes.

The Care home design, will be quality as housing will be implemented on a turntable, to help those living there to be exposed to sunlight for the longest periods of time possible. Along with connectivity which will also be a priority that will help combat loneliness. In order to do this, care villages will use small bridges that will intersect various gardens so that residents can be close to their natural environment and other residents within the community.

Innovative Technologies
Along with quality that will be a priority on the agenda for the future of care homes, technology is also becoming more advanced, and they’re assisting to ensure the safety of patients within care homes while allowing them to live longer, healthier lives.

Technology such as sensors are being utilised in care homes as they’re placed in rooms and systems within the building to alert staff when a patient has fallen, or when they’ve stopped moving. Those living with dementia are being helped with clusters within buildings that can be coloured variously, with different lighting so dementia suffers are to recognise their own living quarters.

Along with sensors that improve the safety within the care home patients, 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 transmitted and data can be sent to a smartphone app.

This technology allows patients and clinicians to be able to establish how well they are adhering to their medication; if they’re not showing positives to a certain type of medication, then this can be rectified as early as possible and the medication can be changed to benefit the patient’s health and needs. There are other versions of this technology such as automated dosage system that have been developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whereby a small implantable device can release medication from inside the body, controlled by an embedded microchip. This will be beneficial for patients with long term conditions or for woman on contraception, as it will give 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
The lack of independence can be brought upon those that move into care homes, so there are technologies being designed to support them so that they can live in a more self-sufficient way.

One example Is wearable technology which is currently used to help monitor heart rates, steps and distance covered – but in the future, they will be used 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 the technology that will be introduced 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 independence of patients allowing them to self-diagnose themselves without having to leave their homes or point of care.

Robotics
Along with troubleshooting technology, robotics will also be developed to help calm down dementia sufferers who have to deal with extreme stress, used within robotic pets that can interact with human touch and respond in an intelligent way.

Robots are going to be able to help with specific tasks such as helping the patients get in and out of bed, while wearable robotic suits will be used to support patients that suffer with arthritis to stand and walk, and they will also help those with severe-mobility problems get around more comfortably.

Curtains, lights and other devices will be able to be controlled robotically through voice commands, which will help those who are visual impaired and those who are blind.

Even though we aren’t there yet, the future of care homes looks promising for both staff and patients. The technologies that are already being used in care homes 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.