Technology In Dementia Care Facilities

Figuring out if a facility has the necessary materials to take care of an individual with a memory disability is difficult because lot of information about dementia-based technology isn’t readily available. There are a lot of systems in place that facilities use to combat symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other medical conditions that place individuals at risk when living alone.

What Helps As Dementia Progresses

In long term care facilities, people with dementia often have a care plan specific to what they need. Having a daily routine in which everyday tasks are done at the same time every day is helpful, whether that be taking medications or doing daily activities. Having dementia-friendly technology around is also important, such as grab bars to help prevent falls and call systems to request assistance.

Virgil Monitoring System

The Virgil Monitoring System is a kind of call system specific to patients with memory loss. It focuses on adding safety features to nursing homes and long-term care facilities so that individuals are checked on without this causing disruption for the people it is meant to help. It alerts silently to caregivers so that they can provide assistance when needed, and it allows for additional home safety for those suffering from dementia.

How It Works

Safety concerns for a person with dementia include fall risk, difficult behaviors, and lack of communication skills. The Virgil Monitoring System combats this by keeping track of an individual’s schedule and automatically alerting other caregivers if something happens outside of usual timeframes or takes longer than normal.

The system has in-bed and in-wall sensors so that it can detect these changes. The bed sensors can show when a person gets up, which is especially important in preventing falls when unsupervised, and can detect incontinence when it occurs in the bed.

Why The Difference Is Important

Traditional call systems aren’t really built for individuals with dementia. Patient care revolves around caregivers being paged or told when there is a need outside of regular daily life routines, but it isn’t easy or often intuitive for individuals with dementia and related dementia illnesses to reach out.

Dementia And Alzheimer’s Disease Concerns

Traditional systems often have an individual use a paging system or identification bracelet, but ones that need to be charged or put on daily can be easily forgotten or misplaced. Some Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, due to memory problems and behavior changes, may not notice or identify their behavior or surroundings as concerning or dangerous. Those who do often can’t communicate about it. Individuals with frontotemporal dementia have special difficulty with verbally communicating their needs and concerns.

Many aging individuals can resent or be confused by caregiving offered to them. Because of this, some may overuse the services and page for help accidentally, in situations where they don’t need help, or because they are confused as to what it does. Others won’t always talk to caregivers for support and help, although they may contact their families and loved ones who will inform caregivers.

man reminiscing during dementia care

Silent Notifications

Because they aren’t able to perform any self-care, each caregiver has to ensure individuals with this diagnosis aren’t hurting themselves or avoiding treatment. Sensors that detect dementia patients’ activities and needs when a caregiver isn’t present are important to this.

Especially when identifying trends in behavior, such as incontinence at certain times of the day or wandering when left alone, sensors are important. These can be signs when the disease progresses and more care is needed or of a need for more personal activities.

The fact that the notifications are silent ensures that dementia patients aren’t alarmed or concerned when unfamiliar audio or visual cues occur. It also lessens the number of unnecessary pages, which increases the responsiveness and resources that caregivers have to help a person with dementia.

Wireless or Hardwired

A lot of wireless options for dementia care services aren’t as information-rich as some of the wired options that exist, especially when they aren’t worn or utilized properly because they aren’t familiar objects to dementia patients. Wireless options can’t give as much detailed information about falls or fall risk and can often give false alarms as the sensors aren’t as accurate as hardwired systems.

Systems that are hardwired are more able to give instantiations information. Having sensors directly in the bed helps with identifying and addressing a lot of the main issues that occur for dementia patients, including incontinence and wandering. Many dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients get up unsupervised and enter other residents’ rooms looking for their families or caregivers.

Knowing when these situations occur can help doctors make health care decisions, adjust individual’s routines, start with support groups or other local resources, or adapt their personal care. Receiving additional information also makes it easier to keep others in the loop. Family members would want to be aware of any changes that are occurring in their loved one’s dementia diagnosis, and caregivers need to have specifics of what changes are occurring and when.

women with dementia care on a rope swing

Why Isn’t It Used Everywhere?

Residents are able to be monitored as soon as they get out of bed, when they enter the hall or the bathroom, if they are in the bathroom for unusual periods of time (which may indicate a fall or a need for assistance), or if they are showing restlessness and anxious behaviors. Having these resources as safety features can be life-saving for dementia care. However, using this system means having it put in place as the location is constructed.

Because of this, few locations are able to use this system. It is built into the walls of the rooms of the facility and is an expensive addition as it is so sophisticated. Despite the helpfulness of the system, it can’t be used effectively without major restoration.

Where You Can Find Care

At Welbrook Memory Care, we built our location to utilize the Vigil Monitoring System. We have trained our employees specifically with the system to enable a higher level of care and attention to our residents. Many families have shown a preference for this to ensure a higher quality care plan for their loved one.

The system helps maintain an environment that’s as home-like as possible while still giving an opportunity for community and specialized care. During the process of ongoing dementia care, having this system in place helps make this difficult experience a little easier.

helping elderly woman with dementia care
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