Finding the right balance between providing quality aged care and minimising costs is hard. Especially now, amidst what is arguably the most turbulent decade in the history of the Australian aged care sector.
As we head towards post-COVID times we will start to leave behind one type of uncertainty to be faced with another, more familiar one: How can aged care providers find ways to reduce cost, whilst being smart and cost-effective with their application of technology?
How do providers find a way to monitor residents successfully without the loss of their dignity and without on-boarding additional staff, whom no provider can afford? The cost of falls has become a national health concern throughout aged care, as they usually lead to serious injuries and complications. For the resident and family, falls can lead to a fear of falling again and even a loss of confidence to walk.
There is a lot of hype around CCTV, but it is not the answer. It is not smart technology, and it is often left to non-human algorithmic systems to watch over our loved ones. Global initiatives driven by technologies designed more appropriately for street lamp posts are not the most effective solution for your mum or dad .. or for the bottom line of a care provider.
Residents need smart solutions that work in with their lifestyles. Staff need intelligent solutions to improve the information they receive, and make their job safer, easier and more effective. That is why aged care providers have to get smart about things, and not just throw a CCTV or sensor floor technology into a room and hope for the best. Smart floors are the answer as they deliver instant, comprehensive data, non-invasively and customised for each resident.
When we speak to aged care providers we often ask, “Where are the areas you want and need to reduce costs with regards to residents?” The answers are usually unanimous: to reduce falls, to reduce the associated cost of falls and often to eliminate sensor mats.
The cost of sensor mats, due to relatively short lifespans, are a significant ongoing preventable cost. Aged care groups often fail to realise how significant these costs are over time. Due to sensor mats only being capable of raising one alarm, whilst becoming a trip hazard themselves, the costs of replacing sensor mats over a 5-10 year period is astronomical, and comparatively not ideal.
So what does this tell us? It tells us that sensor mats are not the smartest solution anymore; they can actually hinder the care process. It also tells us that CCTV is considered by many as nothing more than ‘watching’ when it comes to quality care.
So let’s look at a solution – the Elsi Smart floor is a non-invasive monitoring system proven to reduce falls. It is designed to provide dignified care safely to residents.
Elsi works in the same way as when you press you finger to the screen of your mobile phone; wherever (and when) a resident’s feet or body touches the floor, Elsi knows about it. How smart is that? The Elsi smart floor can warn staff of unusual movements, preempt many preventable falls and give the staff confidence they have a system designed to give them more time to provide better care. It is far more than just sensors and algorithms.
Imagine an aged care facility where falls, frequent bathroom trips and any behaviour prescribed by staff as unusual can all be raised with carers instantly. That is Elsi. Providing care staff with tools to provide more effective care without the need to increase staff numbers. Because the most effective way to improve care is not to add more staff and invalid costs! The smartest consideration is to add an ROI-focused smart technology that helps the people that matter most – your mum, dad, brother, sister, and staff.
And when considering the long term costs, and we take into account the whole of life costs and savings .. Elsi also makes ‘sense’ – unllke other solutions.
Article contributed by Anthony Cantor. Edited by Jason Swaffield