Residents in senior living communities need technology for clinical purposes, but it can also help with their mental health. Using technology, providers can engage residents in new ways and give them opportunities to connect with other residents, staff and their families.
Digital resident engagement has many advantages in addition to resident well-being, including improved care outcomes, better clinical efficiency, and decreased workloads for staff. To understand why, it’s helpful to dive a little deeper into the details behind these benefits.
Digital engagement for residents of senior living communities
What exactly does digital engagement entail? On the clinical side, digital engagement tools can include virtual care platforms for telehealth, online patient portals, smartphone apps and electronic health records. For social and cognitive purposes, tools can include tablets for residents that are loaded with content and resources, online communities centered around common interests, and touchscreen activities that can be conducted in a group settings. Remote monitoring technologies are also helpful for resident engagement.
Technology can improve residents’ mental health
Residents of senior living communities often report experiencing loneliness. Using digital tools to engage these residents drives valuable improvements in their cognition and well-being and makes them feel more connected to others both within and outside of the community.
Remote resident monitoring and helping residents remain at lower levels of care
Tools that allow resident activity to be monitored remotely can give families ongoing insight into their loved one’s daily activities. They can also allow residents to maintain independence for longer than they previously could before this technology existed. Some examples of remote monitoring technology include:
- Personal emergency response systems that can detect falls
- Two-way video communication with care providers
- Movement or action sensors that report atypical behavior
- Emergency detection of life threatening incidents including fire or carbon monoxide
Connection to loved ones
Technology can go a long way in bridging the social gap between residents and their loved ones by connecting them around virtual activities. In one study, resident engagement via tablets allowed improved connection with younger family members who are naturally comfortable with technology, and increased resident and family satisfaction with their care.
Digital engagement for staff of senior living communities
Digital engagement doesn’t only benefit residents. In an era of healthcare staffing concerns, it also bolsters the staff experience.
Addressing the workforce shortage
With 90% of senior living leaders reporting a workforce shortage, the quality of resident care can suffer. Bridging gaps in engagement with technology not only improves care, but saves time. One study found that use of digital engagement conferred a time savings of as much as five or more days of work per month for the community’s care team.
Improved connection with residents
Caregivers thrive on feeling like they are making a difference in the lives of those they care for. Digital resident engagement also contributes to better connections between residents and staff. For example, allowing residents to create and share digital profiles of their backgrounds and interests allows staff to feel more connected to each other and to the residents they care for every day.
Improved communication between the company and staff
Technology can help senior living organizations with staff retention. Starting in the recruitment phase, providers should demonstrate that they embrace technology to attract younger generations that make up much of today’s workforce. All employees benefit from digital tools including flexible scheduling based on data-driven staffing models, platforms that allow employees to share actionable feedback on an ongoing basis, and tools that track and provide positive feedback on staff-resident interactions.
Ongoing staff education is also delivered and tracked seamlessly with digital tools and platforms, making training more accessible for staff and supervisors alike.
Contact Hartman to start building your resident engagement strategy
Each senior living community and its residents has unique needs when it comes to building a digital engagement strategy. Determining what aspects of digital engagement should be a priority to meet business goals can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is especially true in an era of rapid growth surrounding digital healthcare delivery. Hartman’s subject matter experts can help you sort through your options and build the right resident engagement strategy for your organization. Contact us today for more information.