News ID: 156167
Published: 0318 GMT August 03, 2016

Smartwatch app could help make nursing homes safer

Smartwatch app could help make nursing homes safer

To prevent nursing home residents from falling or otherwise injuring themselves, an alert system involving lights, alarms and call buttons lets certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, know a resident needs assistance.

In an effort to speed up the time it takes from a resident calling for help and that help arriving, scientists at Binghamton University have developed a smartwatch app to alert nursing home CNAs wherever they are at a facility, with the hope of providing better service and preventing injuries, UPI reported.

"We wanted to design a better system that improves notification and also, potentially, communication in nursing homes," Huiyang Li, an assistant professor of systems science and industrial engineering at the Binghampton University, said.

"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."

Li said, “Is in the amount of time it takes for CNAs to respond to calls for help. If a resident needs to use the restroom, after a certain period of time they'll just stand up to go by themselves — but if they are not strong enough, they'll fall, which can cause injuries or worse.”

According to the design, published in the journal Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population, the scientists combined the existing safety systems at nursing homes, which often include call lights, chair and bed alarms, wander guards, call-for-help options and others — into a single app.

The system requires CNAs to sign in, where they receive a display specific to their assignments.

If a resident calls for help or triggers an alert, a notification shows up on the screens of all staff members, including those assigned to the resident.

"The alert message is more informative than the existing system and, at the same time, it will help nurses to prioritize," Li said.

"We will mark or highlight alarms from residents who are actually assigned to whoever is using the app."

The constant monitoring and connectedness of the system, allowing CNAs to always be plugged in, could help make nursing homes safer.

"The CNAs are exited about this idea and they are interested in this device," said Haneen Ali, a researcher at Binghamton University.

"They would like to see the adoption of new technologies in their working environment because all of the problems in their current situation."

 

   
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