Both technology and healthcare are changing at rapid rates for our country. With these changes come opportunity for growth and development, especially for in-home care. As we move into 2019, there are some important new trends that are sure to change the way we view and use in-home care. The good news is these trends are likely to make in-home care more accessible for our aging loved ones so that they can fulfill their desire to age gracefully and comfortably in their home. Let’s take a look at what they are.
Embracing the Use of “Wearables”
Home monitoring devices or “wearables” will increasingly provide a broad range of health care options for older adults, their caretakers, and their health care providers. Beyond basic medical alert devices, like Life Alert, technology has advanced into the monitoring of chronic conditions. For example, EKGs have been implanted in smartphones and can be activated along with pocket-sized electrodes when patients begin to experience symptoms of atrial fibrillation. Additionally, diabetes monitors can provide patients with real-time glucose levels. Technology is now looking to expand into a next level of sensors that may provide physicians with information about diet, activity levels and stress to provide a complete picture of a patient’s condition.
Interacting with Technology
With the recent surge of in-home, interactive technology such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, more and more seniors are benefitting from the use of this technology. Through a variety of apps, they can track and record their own daily health notes, have easier access to call a family member or alert 911 in a time of need, and can use the device for entertainment. While technology will never replace the need for interaction with other people, Alexa and Google Home can provide just one more way aging adults can feel connected to the world around them, even if they may not be able to get out as frequently as they would like.
Increasing Value for In-Home Care
Hospitals and health systems now, more than ever before, have realized the extreme value that in-home care provides. Patients who have the support of in-home care are less likely to have an accident or medical emergency when they have the oversight of regular in-home care. In return, this reduces the patient’s risk of needing to receive emergency care from a hospital. Even when a patient does need to seek care from a hospital, upon return to their home, they have a better chance of smooth recovery with help at home. For these reasons hospitals and health systems realize the value in-home care plays in the full spectrum of continuing care.
Growing Demand for Caregivers
And with the increased value of in-home care, demand is on the rise as well. As a result, the demand for professional caregivers is also growing. This demand is sure to re-shape in-home care as organizations who provide such care must change the way in which they recruit and retain quality caregivers. Additionally, for those passionate about pursuing a career as a caregiver, there will be more opportunity to work in this field and help serve others.
Combined, these trends stand to have a large impact on in-home care both now and well into the future. As technology continues to change at a rapid rate, and other health systems as well as individuals recognize the value that in-home care provides, there is room for substantial growth for the home health industry. Regardless of where the future leads us, what’s most important is that all organizations and industries who serve our aging community seek collaborative solutions to increase the quality of life for our senior adults.
What trend do you find most promising or interesting?