NARI contracted to conduct evaluations

NARI has been contracted by LifeCare Residential Aged Care Services in Adelaide to evaluate the impact of a real-time monitoring system to keep elderly residents safe and improve staff efficiencies. The new water resistent wristwatch device allows residents to call for help anytime, anywhere without having to find a call button or alarm. It also allows residents with dementia to safely wander within the facility without risk of being lost or leaving the premises.

Through real-time locating technology, staff know immediately where a resident is when they call for assistance whether a resident has fallen, when a resident with dementia might be at risk of wandering off the premises, where a piece of equipment is, where the visiting GP or physiotherapist might be in a large residential facility, and even whether a fridge has been left open too long.     Further development is in progress to be able to detect falls before a resident even calls for assistance. 

Originating in the monitoring of infectious diseases and used in hospital settings, Dr Bianca Brijnath said it was the first time she has seen such geographic information systems (GIS) technology used in residential aged care and for non-disease related purposes.

“We are looking forward to evaluating how effective the technology is, and how well it helps to improve communication and safety for residents and staff,” she said.

NARI has also been contracted by Northern Health to evaluate environmental improvements to their secure ward at Bundoora campus.

There is a significant body of evidence that show the crucial role the environment plays in assisting individuals with cognitive impairment to navigate, maintain independence and express their unmet needs

At present, the ward, which was not designed for the current purpose and presents challenges for staff caring for patients experiencing extreme symptoms of BPSD. The aim of the improvements is to make the secure ward a more comfortable experience for patients.

The evaluation includes auditing the ward environment’s suitability for older people before and after improvements, and surveying staff on their perceptions of the improvements.

The project is funded by the DHHS Health Services Violence Prevention fund.