As populations around the world begin to live for longer than they ever have, their individual needs related to their health become even more complex, and this is no different in the UK. What this means, is that care homes need to use greater amounts of, and more intelligent, assistive technologies.
Furthermore, staff and care home providers will need to create sustainable living environments in the long-term, to ensure that patients are cared for appropriately when those in care require increasing amounts of supervision and attention.
With doubts overhanging the future of care homes, due to a lack of governmental funding, together with Royal Blind – specialists in care homes for the blind and care homes in Paisley, we assess how care homes will be run in the future, and assess the technologies that will revolutionise the way people are cared for.
An emphasis on quality
In the next 20 years, research has suggested that care homes funded by both private means and social care, will emphasise quality within their ethos. This is because it has been suggested that this strategy has the potential for people to ‘live healthier and longer lives’, as Jane Ashcroft suggested in the Silver Chic report in the future of care homes.
More specifically, quality will preside within the care home’s design, as housing will be implemented on a turntable, to help those living there be exposed to sunlight for the longest periods of time possible. As well as this, connectivity will also be a priority to help combat loneliness. To do this, care villages will use small bridges intersecting various gardens so that residents will closer to both their natural environment and other residents within the community.
In addition to quality taking a top priority on the agenda for the future of care homes, technology is also becoming more advanced, and they are helping to ensure that patients remain safe within care homes while allowing them to live longer, healthier lives.
For example, care homes are now beginning to utilise sensors in rooms and systems within the building that alert staff when a patient has fallen, or when they have stopped moving. To help those living with dementia, clusters within buildings can be coloured variously with different lighting so that they are able to recognise their own living quarters. These types of technologies then, are specifically designed to ensure patient comfort, and help to guarantee their safety while living in care.
Care with greater independence
When people live within the care system, they can begin to feel as though they’ve lost a sense of independence; technologies of the future are enabling those with specific care requirements to live their life in a more self-sufficient way.
For example, wearable technologies in their present from can monitor heart rates, steps, and distance covered – but in the future, they will help to monitor fluid retention and respiratory rates, helping to lower hospital admissions, allowing patients to understand their own symptoms more effectively before they require medical assistance.
As well as troubleshooting technologies, robotics will be used to help calm down dementia sufferers who have to deal with extreme stress, used within robotic pets that can respond to human touch and respond in intelligent way.
To help with specific care tasks, robots will provide general tasks such as helping patients get in and out of bed, whilst wearable robotic suits will be used to help sufferers from arthritis stand and walk, and they will also help those with severe mobility problems get around more comfortably.
Within a patients room, robotically controlled curtains alongside voice commands that also control lights, and other devices, will be used to help those who are blind and have visual impairments.
Although we aren’t there yet, the future of care homes looks promising for both staff and patients. The technologies that are already being utilised, and the systems that are being proposed, will help patients lead more independent and comfortable lives so that they can live a happier and healthier life for longer.