Technology transforming home care sector

Home care providers need to embrace innovation if they are to succeed, says an industry expert.

Home care providers need to embrace innovation and maintain momentum if they are to succeed, says an industry expert. 

“As we know, the world is changing around us at a rapid pace. Every organisation must continually adapt and evolve to remain relevant and competitive in this changing marketplace,” Jennene Buckley ­– co-founder and director of aged care consultancy firm Enkindle – told Community Care Review.

Enkindle has produced a resource showcasing key innovations transforming in-home care. Compiled through collaboration with national and international stakeholders, the publication – Top Home Care Innovations in Aged Care – includes case studies of the latest technology and thinking used worldwide to improve and enhance the delivery of home care.

Among the innovations, the free resource features the latest portals, platforms and apps that are being increasingly used to provide the means for older people and their carers to engage more regularly and easily with their home care provider.

This “ubering” of the sector, say the paper’s authors, has changed “consumer expectations about aged care delivery and the importance of choice, control, flexibility and customisation.”

Jennene Buckley

“Innovation in home care will deliver more personalised, efficient, responsive and pro­active support to meet the individual needs of older people,” said Ms Buckley. “Self-service platforms, social prescribing, self-directed work teams, integrated care models – they all work towards meeting the unique needs and aspirations of a person and enabling the client to be the maestro of their care experience.”

The emergence of integrated care models especially excites Ms Buckley. “Where home care providers are becoming integral partners to healthcare and primary care providers who, together, deliver a  continuum of care model for older people within their homes in the community.”

Covid-19, the paper’s authors acknowledge, “has been a driver for the increased use of a range of technologies” in the home care sector. Through platforms such as Zoom, telehealth has become commonplace.

Hospital-in-the-home is a care model that takes telehealth to a whole new level with virtual nursing teams enabling providers to offer acute-level hospital care at home, Ms Buckley told CCR.

“Home care providers are evolving into home health providers. If we follow the lead of other countries, such as the USA, we will see 40 per cent of hospital inpatient episodes moving to home care settings.

“The opportunity for home care providers who start to innovate around virtual care, smart technologies, and workforce models, is significant in responding to these emerging opportunities in integrated care,” said Ms Buckley.

She added it is important that providers be cognisant of the technological trends shaping the future of the home sector , said Ms Buckley.

“For home care providers, innovation is the key to meeting our client’s needs and expectations, addressing our workforce challenges, improving our efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and improving the health outcomes and overall well-being and quality of life of older adults.”  

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