As the population ages, more people have age-related health complications that need long-term care. It is well known that living in the home environment is beneficial to health, often slowing the progression of degenerative diseases like dementia. Advances in technology allow more people to continue living at home and be independent by improving home health care. These advances are good news for family members who worry about looking after loved ones. It is also good news for care homes as it relieves pressure from these facilities, allowing them to concentrate on those who need them the most. Chronic illness sufferers also benefit from improvements to their day-to-day quality of life.
The internet keeps us connected.
The internet has made a significant impact on health care across the board, especially in-home health care, as it made it easier to collect vital data and stay in touch quickly. Various platforms offer video call capability for free, so it is now easier than ever for people to keep in touch. Someone who lives alone can video call family who doesn’t live locally and therefore can’t visit regularly. This social interaction is excellent for mood and brain function and allows family and friends to get a visual idea of how their loved one is faring. Doctors can also see patients from the comfort of their own homes and make basic medical assessments via video call, reducing their need to sit in waiting rooms with potentially infectious people.
Medical Alert Systems Keep Help at the Touch of a Button.
One of the concerns for a frail or infirm person to continue living alone is who will know if something happens to them, such as falling and not reaching the telephone to call for help. There are now a variety of alarm systems that allow someone who lives alone the ability to contact support quickly and easily. All alert systems have a fob that the person keeps on themself in an accessible place (usually around the neck). And the best medical alert systems allow information to be relayed to family members who can see if anything is amiss with a set routine and receive a call should the alarm be triggered.
Access to Easier to Use Equipment
Over the years, medical equipment has improved dramatically, allowing patients to have more autonomy in their lives, rather than be beholden to dodgy medical professionals or ridged timetables to interrupt the flow of everyday life. One example of this is the wearable glucose monitor with an insulin pump for diabetes. Previously the patient would have to stop several times a day, do a finger prick test to check their glucose levels, and then work out the appropriate insulin dose and manually inject themselves. A wearable pump removes this as it automatically does both of those steps, allowing the wearer to go about their day uninterrupted, making it perfect for someone whose memory isn’t great.
Dignity at Home.
Sadly, not all health care is about extending and improving quality of life; sometimes, it is about allowing a terminally ill patient to go as peacefully and as comfortably as possible. Improved medical equipment is good news for palliative care as portable versions of hospital equipment allow terminally ill patients, where appropriate, to see out their days at home. Being at home affords a person the chance to die in dignity and the relative comfort of their own space, surrounded by their loved ones, rather than in an impersonal hospital room.
Better Homes Keep People Home Longer.
It’s not just improvements to medical equipment that have made better quality health care in the home. Advances in how the house can be adapted to suit people with various medical needs have also helped immensely in recent years. Whether a person decides to downgrade to a smaller, easy to maintain home or chooses to stay in a house, they’ve lived in for many years, and you can do various things to make it a safe and comfortable home environment that meets their changing medical needs.
Something as easy as updating the lighting will positively impact modern bulbs being more energy-efficient and thus less costly to run. As you go through your sixties and beyond, your ability to see light changes (which has implications for dementia), so choosing a lighting plan that allows for bright natural-like light is a good idea. By integrating smart home hubs into such a lighting plan enable the light to be used most effectively with timers set to gradually turn lights up as the natural daylight fades in the evening. At the same time, the same smart hub can also control temperature and other features around the home.
The physical environment within the home has also benefited from technological advances. Stairlifts allow a person with limited mobility to access more than one house level, which is especially useful if moving to a single-level property is not a viable option. A walk-in bathtub allows someone who isn’t steady on their feet to safely bathe as they can sit on an easy-to-access seat, rather than trying to step over the side of a bathtub or having to stand under a shower with poor balance. These sorts of items might not immediately seem like big news. Yet, it’s often these small mundane things that allow a person to remain independent in their own home, as it enables them to do the tasks that would otherwise require them to be prematurely in a care home.
There are many ways that technology has improved the quality of health care that can be proved in the home, from allowing people with medical conditions more freedom and autonomy to allowing older people to stay independently in their homes for longer than they would have previously been able to do so safely. And as technology continues to advance and improve, so to will its application in the everyday lives of those who require medical care in a home setting improve across all areas of home health care.