Updated: Jul 30
COVID-19 is a catalyst for technology adoption. Seniors are embracing technology more than ever.
The pandemic has exposed, at great cost, how much the senior living industry lags in embracing technology for staff and residents. We have all learned during the pandemic how technology has enabled many businesses to continue to operate efficiently under various restrictions. COVID-19 is a catalyst for digital transformation, and the senior care industry is accelerating the adoption of technology to improve operational efficiency so that management and staff can improve the quality of care for their residents.
The Benefits of Technology Adoption
Efficiency is a big reason for retirement communities to adopt new technologies. Spending less time on tasks and paperwork will leave staff with more free time to help residents and care for the home. A study mentioned in the Sekoia article Digitalisation – Is it relevant for residential and nursing homes claims that after implementing digitization, Quinton House saw that "documentation has been reduced by 1.5 hours per carer per shift" (Sekoia 2020).
Another reason for technology adoption is data loss prevention. Using digital software to track resident information can help ensure their paperwork is never lost, and records are kept consistent across the entire system. As well, digital software for bookkeeping ensures that a resident's information can be accessed from anywhere in the home, saving time from having to retrieve paperwork in case of emergency.
During the pandemic, Zoom and other facetime apps allow families to stay connected with seniors while practicing physical distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. These tools allow senior care facilities to improve the speed and reach of communication to staff, residents and their family members, keeping everyone informed as the situation with the pandemic continues to unfold.
Getting Started with Technology Adoption
From paperful to paperless. One way retirement homes can leverage digitization is to move from a paperful to a paperless environment. Rather than keeping paper records in a physical location, homes can store files in the cloud to mitigate the risk of losing resident data and improve the accessibility of data anytime, anywhere. Facilities should prioritize files to go paperless based on regulatory requirements and frequency of access. This allows facilities to create a phased approach to migrate all their files to the cloud.
From manual to automation. One of the key benefits of automation is time savings. Imagine if every staff member gains just one free extra hour per day through automation, that extra hour can be used to improve care for residents. Automation also reduces the chance of human errors and ensures consistency and compliance through adherence to processes.
Now more than ever, senior care facilities and retirement communities need to increase the frequency of check-ins with residents and staff members to ensure their physical and mental well-being. Digitizing feedback means (1) going paperless and (2) scheduling and executing check-ins through automation. The real value to digitizing feedback is the ability to get real-time feedback from residents and staff members at the frequency, speed, and scale technology can provide, so that facility staff and management can prioritize and respond to those who are most in need. Data collected through these check-ins allows facilities to track trends on residents' and staff members' sentiment and identify recurring themes to improve their engagement and well-being.
For example, a common theme could shed light on the quality of food for residents. Through these check-ins, staff members can identify if low ratings on food quality is a recurring theme and not just a particular meal on a particular day.
For staff members, management can conduct safety audits to ensure workers feel safe coming to work every day and identify what gaps to address to ensure staff members feel that their safety is management's top priority. Download our Health and Safety Audits Questions.
Measuring Technology Adoption
Because of COVID, everyone has learned to embrace technology, including residents and staff members. The senior care industry can leverage this opportunity the pandemic has created to accelerate the adoption of new tools. Facilities can use pulse surveys to measure residents' and workers' reception to new technologies.
Example of Questions to Ask Staff Members:
I know how to effectively use [this new technology] for my work.
This new system has made my job easier.
Example of Questions to Ask Residents:
I have been properly shown by a staff member on how to use [new technology].
[This new technology] has improved my life around the home.
These pulse surveys allow senior home providers to see if adequate training was provided to help residents/staff adopt new tools and identify if further training is required to ensure they can use these tools effectively.
According to Rick Potts, director of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, "The evolution of the brain is the most obvious example of how we evolve to adapt," a little more patience and time will eliminate residents and staff members' barriers to technology adoption.
How Can We Help?
Retainify offers a unified solution that allows senior living facilities to customize and automate their employee and resident satisfaction surveys to measure what matters to them. Our cost-effective solution can be deployed in less than 24 hours with minimal effort, and customers can access feedback from their staff and residents in real-time.
Find out more at https://www.retainify.com/seniorliving
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