Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have developed an application for smart phones or computer tablets designed to help seniors take control of their daily health and improve care at assisted living facilities.
According to Tech Times, this new app allows caregivers and doctors to electronically communicate with older patients. Seniors can voice concerns, log updates and track their own health. With this application, which is called eSeniorCare, the hope is that older adults can become more engaged with their care.
How it Works
Born out of Notre Dame's Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications, the app solves two important problems. As iCeNSA reported on its website, preventative care and patient engagement are important for lowering health care costs and improving outcomes, and for that reason, eSeniorCare has big potential.
The first way eSeniorCare that aims to improve the quality of care older adults receive comes in the form of functions called Medication Scheduling and Management and Medication Adherence, according to iCeNSA. These tools help physicians remotely monitor their patients, which minimizes the need for frequent trips to the doctor's office. There are alerts for daily medications and tools for seniors to confirm their daily medicine intake. Should an appointment be necessary, there are interfaces for scheduling a visit.
With these tools, care providers can monitor seniors' daily health, and use videos and text alerts to speak with their patients regarding any updates or concerns. The hope is that electronic communication will give physicians a means of checking in on their patients frequently and provide guidance, advice or support.
The app is also helpful because it gives older adults new tools for tracking their own health and monitoring important health metrics. The Observations of Daily Living function comes with a number of important features, according to Tech Times.
Seniors can set health goals, such as eating less fatty food, and can maintain a record of their daily progress. These reports can be used as personal motivation and tracking, and can also be shared with health professionals. There are also games like Sudoku and daily puzzles that are fun for seniors and help boost cognitive abilities.
Giving independent seniors who live alone or in assisted living facilities the means of taking responsibility for their daily health is important for making progress more tangible and boosting patient engagement. Tech Times reported that the app helps seniors to be more cognizant of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and also more empowered for tracking care and daily responsibilities.
This new app is different from existing tools because it does more than merely track data. eSeniorCare gives older adults a means of engaging more intimately with their own health, and this has benefits for caregivers as well.
The National Center for Assisted Living reported that there are approximately 735,000 older adults living in assisted living facilities across the U.S., many of who are 85 years or older. This can put a strain on the ability of nurses and care providers to make sure each senior has adequate attention. For that reason, Notre Dame's new app allows seniors to take on some of the duty of monitoring daily health. This also improves feelings of independence and responsibility.
Because care facilities may have many residents that need assistance doing daily activities, giving seniors the tools to communicate with caregivers is helpful to prioritize certain individuals. Likewise, this can help older adults feel more accomplished and less needy, according to Tech Times.
The NCAL stated that seniors are happiest with adequate amounts of privacy and control over their daily lives, and eSeniorCare is important for helping older adults influence their relationship with caregivers and nurses.