As the pandemic progresses and permanently changes our lives, specialists are inspecting how we live and work at home. Home care is one of the topics which has received more attention since the start of the pandemic due to safety and mental health concerns. What are the implications of caring for your loved ones at home or hiring staff to support you when you most need it?
- What is home care support?
The term “home care” describes all types of support that individuals can request in their private household. This typically refers to permanent care but is not limited to it. As a flexible profession, it allocates care work where needed, which includes recovery from surgery, personalized disability support and permanent assistance in the household. The staff takes care of essential household tasks, for example meal preparation, hygiene, cleaning, travel assistance, management of the morning and evening routine and the fitting of any additional household equipment, such as lifts or adjustable beds.
Home care supports the individual patient and offers a service tailored to their needs. The flexibility guarantees that every patient feels secure and well-supported in their private household. It is a great choice for more independence and provides security where patients fear the onset of a care home. It is important to note the difference between “home care” and “home help”. Home help usually only involves light housework, which may be limited to cleaning duties.
- Home care improvements in the wake of the digitization
The human population is getting older and older, and that at an alarming rate. Studies undertaken by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) show that about 90 % of adults approaching their retirement want to stay independently at home as long as possible. In order to deal with these vast numbers, changes have to be made to ensure proper care in the near future. The internet has already set major improvements into motion, but the biggest changes are currently in development. The following list provides a short overview of some of the most important innovations to date.
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
A fairly recent term, the Internet of Things describes the interconnections of real-life objects and the data supplied by the internet. Smartphones would be the prime gadgets using the IoT; however, as technology advances, more “things” are added to the network and create a steady influx of data. In the future, home care will benefit from modern equipment which could eventually develop into AI-modulated support. The more the internet learns about us as consumers and our behaviors, the better technological advancements will be integrated into our lives.
- The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Based on the IoT, the Internet of Medical Things aims to connect medical data with a cloud system for global access. Diabetes care (for example the continuous glucose monitoring system) is one of the big industries using the IoMT by connecting medical devices with smartphones. The users gain easy access to their data and can monitor their condition with the click of a button. AI will also play a crucial role in the way we use and absorb medicine in the next decades.
- Remote Patient Monitoring
By 2035 the US population aged between 25 and 64 will have only grown by 4 %, whereas the generation over 65 will have increased significantly more. The so-called “telehealth”, which describes the accessibility of data unrelated to one’s own position, will transform how patients and medical staff interact. Chronic diseases such as heart conditions will be connected via the IoT and allow medical professionals to simultaneously care for multiple patients.
The pandemic has been a major catalyst for changes in remote patient monitoring, and face to face appointments are becoming less frequent due to safety concerns. Recently, with the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, more and more meetings have been taking place online. The home care field is not an exception. Since it is a rather sensitive field, the need of a secure conference app has arisen. For instance, Corgos has developed such an application exclusively for in- and outpatient care. Our next years of crisis management and research will be crucial for future uses of technical innovations and developments, specifically designed to tackle work force and lifestyle changes.
- What you can consider today
If you or one of your close family members is planning on living at home for as long as possible, a few household improvements can support you in your decision. Home care will typically help you modify your or your family member’s home; however, there are a few essential changes you can already implement today without the hassle of contacting your health insurance:
- Showers and tubs which accommodate mobility
- Wide doorways with wheelchair access
- Door handles (instead of door knobs)
- Nonslip flooring
- Step-free front doors
- Accessibility options such as a lift
Whether your home is suitable for home care and independence will define your or your family member’s lifestyle.