Innovation and technology in the care of the elderly

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The commissioners investigated whether the elderly care sector and government sufficiently support innovative technological developments and spoke with a range of witnesses and industry experts to understand the barriers to innovation, how to translate research into the practice of elderly care and use technology. to help older Australians.

This was the first round of hearings that did not allow the public to enter the courtroom due to the risk of coronavirus, but the public could instead follow the hearing via the live webcast . Royal Commission website. Some witnesses testified by videoconference.

Innovation and technology in practice

On March 16, the Commissioners heard from witnesses, Denise Griggs, relationship manager at ECH inc in South Australia, and client family member Damien Harker as an example of how technology can help the service delivery.

Mr. Harker’s father, George, has dementia and receives a Level 4 Home Care Package (HCP). Mr Harker explained how the technology, especially an app on his phone, has helped reduce stress for the family if their father leaves his home unexpectedly.

The app is able to collect data on George’s daily movements and if anything is out of the ordinary, and allows ECH to respond to the data they receive.

Following the testimonies, a technology and innovation panel was held with Professor Sue Gordon, Strategic Professor, Chair of Restorative Care in Aging, Flinders University; Jennene Buckley, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Feros Care; Dr Tanya Petrovich, Business Innovation Manager, Center for Dementia Learning, Dementia Australia; and Daniella Greenwood, consultant, Daniella Greenwood & Associates.

Ms Buckley of Feros Care explained that technology has become the foundation of the delivery model of companies in the way they operate and coordinate their services, and has been entrusted to staff to help provide care and provide care to clients living in residence.

She admitted that although the use of technology is “the future” and plays an “important role in everything we do in our business”, the organization has encountered difficulties in implementing technology in the fields. residential care.

“[Staff] don’t have much more time to really want to engage with technology. It has been a difficult process for us when it comes to motivating managers and staff to truly engage in residential technology, ”Ms. Buckley said.

Ms Greenwood, who consults with many senior care facilities, says there seems to be confusion around what technology is and is not technology, and that the implementation of ideas in senior care older people does not always translate well.

Dr Petrovich added that technology is a catalyst and can be a great way to improve quality of life. However, technology should not be used for the use of technology, but to improve the quality of life and care of all older people.

Rich in data but poor in information

In the afternoon, Commissioners heard testimony from Barbara Hamilton Ramsay, a client of Feros Care in Queensland, about the virtual social center she uses to feel social connections.

Available on a tablet, the Virtual Social Center was created by Feros Care to help the elderly at home interact with others through real-time guided videos, such as physical movements or mental challenges, guided tours of places, art classes, book clubs, etc.

Ms. Hamilton Ramsey says this technology has given her meaning and a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and helps her with her loneliness and improves her days.

Following the testimony of witnesses, there was a data and research panel with Dr. Rob Grenfell, Director of Health, Health and Biosafety, CSIRO; Associate Professor Maria Inacio, Director, Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA), South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute; Ben Lancken, Transformation Manager, Opal Aged Care; and Louise York, Group Leader, Community Services Group, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

A recurring theme with the panel was that the relevant data that could inform research and change is there, but not organized and readily available for analysis.

Ms York believes that the data collected could be used in different fields, however, the links between the different “datasets” do not currently exist.

Engaging staff in technology and putting research into practice

On March 17, Day 2, the Commission heard from several experts talking about innovation in the education and training of the elderly care workforce and the putting into practice of elderly care research. the elderly.

The first industry expert of the day came from Canada, Dr Veronique Boscart, of the Schlegel University of Waterloo, Institute for Research on Aging, explaining how she implements education and training in the villages of person-centered care.

Following Dr Boscart, two separate panels addressed the same topic, innovation in education and training of older social workers.

The first panel included Dr Kate Barnett OAM, Managing Director of Stand Out Report; Helen Loffler, student engagement manager at Helping Hand; and Megan Corlis, director of research and development at Helping Hand.

The panel talked about the issue of internships for students and presented an example of a special internship program run by Helping Hand that both adds value to their residents but also provides meaningful experience and education for students.

The program matches the organization’s elderly care needs with the educational requirements of students.

Ms. Loffler says it’s important for students to gain value and valuable experience when placed in an elderly care facility. Helping Hand investigates what they need in residential care and what partnerships they can establish with different groups of students.

The second group consisted of Professor James Vickers, director of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Center and member of the Glenview Board of Trustees; and Professor Emeritus Andrew Robinson, Wicking Dementia Research and Education Center.

The couple provided evidence that there is a strong desire for dementia education and that staff want to apply this education in their professional life.

According to Professor Vickers, the MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) at the Wicking Dementia Education Center are hugely successful and are very accessible to a large number of people.

There are more than 40,000 MOOCs in the world and the Wicking Dementia Understanding dementia The MOOC is number five in the world.

About two-thirds of viewers come from Australia and a large majority of this cohort is made up of family or healthcare professionals.

He says there is a clear need for a high quality education that can speak to people no matter their education and where they live with dementia.

The final panel focused on putting elderly care research into practice, which included Professor Steven Wesselingh, Executive Director of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and Chairman of the National Health and Medical Research Council Research Committee ( NHMRC); Ms. Julianne Parkinson, CEO of the Global Center for Modern Aging; and Assistant Professor Judy Lowthian, Principal Investigator and Research Director at the Bolton Clarke Research Institute, as well as two other experts.

There was a group discussion around the success and implementation of co-design in elderly care, which involves experts or care professionals working with their consumers and communities.

Ms Parkinson mentioned that involving consumers in research on eldercare practices will likely ensure the success of a new project or method.

Adj. Professor Lowthian added that several projects at Bolton Clarke involve community workshops, which have proven that people want to participate in the creation of better elderly care services and products.

Prof Wesselingh explained that the NHMRC has a great interest in co-design work because of the benefits that come from working with the community and consumers.

“Researchers engage much more with the community and consumers and lead to the co-design of research… The NHMRC is very interested in research that has been co-designed so that the questions are co-designed as well as the process to lead to answers for these questions ”, explains Professor Wesselingh.

The next Royal Commission hearing will take place from March 30 to April 1, exploring mental health, oral health and related health care in the care of the elderly and how to improve people’s access to care services. to the elderly.


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