Following investigations highlighting the undignified care of the elderly in hospitals and care homes, the Commission on Dignity in Care for Older People has published a report outlining the ways in which eldercare needs to be redefined to ensure that the growing population of older people are treated and cared for with dignity and respect.
Of particular interest was the Commission’s stance that the use of technology has huge potential to improve quality of life and should be deliberated and used more widely.
Improving personal hygiene along with increased independence
Care recipients commonly report that their ability to go to the toilet unaided, or with as little help as possible, affected their wellbeing in a large way. The Commission states that whilst technology cannot replace the care of properly managed and trained staff, it certainly can help in promoting independence in those who suffer from reduced mobility.
A great example is equipment that can assist the elderly to use the toilet with little or no help, such as the Clos-o-Mat wash and dry toilet.
Support for changing technology
Technology can also be implemented in the form of pressure and infra-red sensors that will alert carers when someone needing assistance is trying to get out of bed, for example.
Closed circuit television and card-swipe access can increase the security of both staff and residents, and communications software such as Skype and webcams can keep isolation at bay by allowing care home residents to stay in touch with family and friends on a regular basis.
The Commission recommends that hospitals and care homes should “invest in greater use of technology, to improve the quality of care and to support residents in enjoying active and independent lives”. Delivering Dignity is a great recommendation by the Commission to embrace the opportunities technology can offer to improve the level of care given to the elderly.