Nurse using a cell phone

“Communities can increase the odds of success with mobile solutions by taking a strategic approach.”

Mobility in the nursing home world most often refers to group exercises or physical therapy. Mobility has another very important context for senior living communities- the ability to use innovative mobile solutions, and technology, to improve the quality of life of each resident, or patient, and help the staff be as efficient as possible.

Mobile devices and apps are commonplace in today’s technologically advanced world. It is estimated that ninety-five percent of Americans own a cell phone, and more than seventy-five percent of Americans own a smartphone. With the growing smartphone industry, there are an estimated 318,500 health-related mobile apps.

Smartphones and apps offer up an important opportunity for senior facilities and communities. These devices and programs can improve efficiency, service to residents, and improve overall living conditions.

A few benefits that smartphones, and their corresponding apps, offer are: combining the functionality of technology, increasing information availability, and immediate, easier documentation of tasks, actions, and other notes.

First, apps and smartphones combine the functionality of technology. In one device, it eliminates the need for pagers, calculators, timers, corded phones, paper and pen notes, radios, and other communication devices. Second, smartphones have the internet, which means there is unlimited information available. This can facilitate collaboration, help with problems, and generally improve the workplace. Finally, smartphones allow immediate, easier documentation of tasks. If a senior home implements a program available on smartphones, or tablets, it eliminates the need for paper forms, after-the-fact documentation, and this information is more easily shared from staff member to staff member.

The first step in implementing more smartphones, and their corresponding apps, into senior living communities, is having a solid infrastructure foundation. It isn’t cost effective to use cellular data, so it is advantageous for communities to use an on-location Wi-Fi network. Many facilities have already implemented Wi-Fi networks in order to meet ever-growing technology needs of their residents.

The second step to implementing a more technologically advanced senior care center is to roll out a pilot program. The pilot program can build positive momentum, demonstrate reliability, and help the staff feel more comfortable with a new system.

Though the roll-out of senior living communities entering a more mobile era is complicated and may take a while to iron out, the outcomes these solutions produce for residents, the facility, and the staff is worth it.

Going more mobile can help staff efficiency, improve the quality of care, and include more driven date-rich insights. Having health-focused apps, search engines, and easier communication means improved quality of care for each resident. Response times can be tracked more easily, and accurately, time spent with each resident can be measured, and checks can be put in place to ensure every single resident is being attentively cared for. When notes are combined with these encounters, this data is invaluable for resident care planning and health evaluations.

As senior care facilities incorporate more mobility into their daily functioning, it opens the door to more complex technology, including apps that monitor vital signs, blood pressure, heart rate, and even hydration. When all of this data is gathered, residents receive better quality of care, and doctors and care planners can more efficiently see a picture of a resident’s health.

Post-acute and long-term care facility benefit greatly when they implement mobility into their facility, and their odds of success increase when they implement mobility with a strategic approach.