Simavita taps wireless to preserve aged care dignity
Simavita helps preserve the dignity of people living in aged care facilities by improving the development and management of incontinence and toileting plans. This case study examines how the organisation uses technology to improve quality of life for people living in aged care and lower its costs.
The Challenge: Improve the way incontinence and toileting plans are managed in Australian and international aged care facilities.
The Approach: A wireless sensor is embedded in an incontinence pad giving accurate readings of toileting events.
The Outcomes: An accurate picture is generated of toileting, and fewer pad changes are required.
The Lessons Learned: Technology can help improve even the most basic needs inside an nursing home.
The Upside for:
Clinicians: Clinicians get a better idea of how continent a person is, and a more accurate plan of their bladder control and toileting needs.
Patients: The indignity of being changed is minimised, and patients that can manage their own toileting with assistance are not miscategorised.
The Organisation: Incontinence products are among the most expensive parts of running an aged care facility. The Simavita solution reduces this expense. It also creates more accurate records for insurance and liability purposes.
One of the most pressing issues facing Australia, and western societies in general, is an ageing population.
Much effort is going helping older people stay at home, but the reality, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, is that around ten percent of people over the age of 60 will need to live in residential accommodation.
Simavita is a specialist aged care services provider. Its CEO, Philippa Lewis, told eHealthspace.org that seventy percent of the people who are admitted to residential aged care are incontinent. What this means is that, behind staffing, incontinence products and incontinence care are the most expensive parts of running an aged care facility.
Ms Lewis’ company has developed a software and hardware solution that can significantly reduce the amount of sanitary products used, leading to a more dignified existence for people living in an aged care facility – they don’t need to be changed as often – and also freeing up staff for other jobs needing to be done.
“Normally what happens is that when someone is admitted to an aged care facility there is a three day assessment,” said Ms Lewis. “This is done manually. The person has to wear a pad for 72 hours, and this is checked and weighed every two hours. On this basis a toileting plan is formed for the person.”
The problem is that this system is unreliable, according to Ms Lewis. “There is no evidence based information available,” she said. “It can also make an elderly person incontinent because there is a shortage of staff to check the pads, and so an incorrect assessment could be made.”
The Simavita solution uses a wireless sensor embedded into an incontinence pad. The sensor picks up all activity and transmits it to a dedicated server and also to a handheld PDA device. The carer can then see what is going on, and the pad doesn’t need to be checked and changed every two hours.
“The person is not subject to the indignity of constant changing, and what is generated is a three day bladder chart, meaning that the person is only changed when they need to be changed,” said Ms Lewis. “They may only be changed three times per day, rather than ten times, and this also frees up staff to do other things.”
According to Ms Lewis, 34 facilities totaling 1700 beds are using the Simavita system across Australia. The company has ambitious international expansion plans, and has partnered with HP to provide the hardware layer needed to run the system.
“We approached HP because we wanted to work with a global player to underpin our international expansion plans,” Ms Lewis said.