When the coronavirus pandemic hit across the country, skilled nursing facilities, acting at the behest of governmental officials, implemented unprecedented visitation restrictions in the interest of resident and staff health and safety. Such restrictions are understandably difficult for both residents and their families, especially since seniors’ isolation has been shown to cause or exacerbate a number of health concerns.
Technology can help bridge the gap, as has been shown at the six facilities in The Allure Group’s network. Take, for example, our PadInMotion technology. While Samsung tablets had been in place at all 1,400-plus bedsides in our centers for a little over a year, they were largely used for entertainment and stress-relief purposes before the pandemic. But when visitation restrictions were imposed, the Skype feature in each tablet enabled residents to communicate with their loved ones via audio or video channels.
Other tech features at The Allure Group’s facilities allow residents to connect with our dedicated healthcare professionals, during and after their stays. Consider our remote monitoring system, EarlySense, which was also already in place but has taken on added importance during this crisis. EarlySense enables staff to track residents’ vital signs, movements and positioning courtesy of sensors placed under each mattress; in essence, it allows staff to be in more than one place at a time. That is especially critical now, given the demands being placed upon them.
Across the industry, I’ve been impressed by the ways in which wearables have made it possible to go a step beyond merely connecting with loved ones, to keeping tabs on their well-being, too. That is obviously of particular importance now, given how susceptible seniors are to the virus.
To that end, The Allure Group has recently added Vis A Vis technology to its tech stack, which enables patients to make virtual visits to doctors after being discharged. While we have long offered telemedicine services, Vis A Vis relieves these outgoing patients of the stress of getting to the doctor’s office for their post-acute follow-up appointments.
Patients are given a small, hand-held device to take home, where they can connect with a physician the day after discharge and have key vitals checked to ensure that the transition home is safe and seamless. The Allure Group plans an update to the Vis A Vis technology in the near future that will enable it to also track body temperature, one of the telltale signs of infections.
Tech has always played a critical role in the holistic care provided by The Allure Group, and that is especially so now, during the pandemic. Not only does it allow residents to receive prompt attention, it also enables them to make those all-important connections with loved ones.