Smartwatch Interface Could Improve Communication, Help Prevent Falls at Nursing Homes
Poor communication systems at nursing homes can lead to serious injury for residents who are not tended to in a timely manner. A new smartwatch app being developed at Binghamton University could help certified nursing assistants (CNAs) respond to alerts more quickly and help prevent falls. Binghamton University researchers are developing a smartwatch application to improve communication and notification systems for nursing homes, which are often faulty and inefficient. The proposed design integrates all of the existing safety systems at nursing homes — e.g., call lights, chair and bed alarms, wander guards, calling-for-help functions — and provides alerts to users. Through a process of iterative design and evaluation with prospective users, a final design was well received by nursing experts in geriatric care, and at local nursing homes. An on-going evaluation study shows that using this system reduces staff response time to alarms.
“The problem associated with not responding in time is that residents tend to stand up or go to the bathroom by themselves. If they’re not strong enough, they can’t support the weight. And if they have to wait, they will just get up and go. And that leads to falls,” said researcher Li. “We wanted to design a better system that improves notification and also, potentially, communication in nursing homes. The improvement of notification will potentially help staff to do a better job and, eventually, improve patient safety. Whenever residents need help, they have a way to call for help, and messages will be delivered to staff in an effective way.”
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.