New technology in nursing homes: Measurements related to QR code nursing home resident

AMSTELVEEN Nursing homes in Amstelveen are increasingly using new technology. It is necessary because there are too few healthcare professionals available. The data from this new technology is used to implement staff more efficiently. This is the third part in a series of articles on new technology in Amstelveen elderly care.

It is a small conspicuous white box in the attic at the entrance to Grønelaan care center at Amstelring care institution. But this little box gives freedom to some of the residents. The sliding doors open only to residents who can walk outside and not to residents who can no longer. A mark with a sensor is attached to the white box. That brand is in the pocket of those customers who can no longer go outside. The door remains closed. Employees can always track residents via the tag.

With this kind of smart alarms, the health institution tries to tailor the care as personally as possible, against all staff shortages and increasingly seriously ill elderly.

THE FUTURE Amstelveen will age in the coming years. The group of 75 years and older in particular will grow, namely from 9 to 12 percent in 2040. Therefore, there is also a need for more places in nursing homes. Many seniors are currently waiting for a place in a nursing home. In 2020, there were 1,286 clients who received a referral to a nursing home, while there are 753 places in Amstelveen. Anyone who was not placed came on the waiting list. It is expected that there will be a need for 315 additional places in 2040. Nursing homes vary in size between 30 and 175 places. 315 extra places therefore means almost at least two new nursing homes.

The demand for nursing home places will increase in the coming years, but so will the staff shortage. Nationwide, nursing homes will face a shortage of nearly 52,000 employees by 2030.

There is another reason why nursing homes are increasingly using new technology. Elderly people now coming to nursing homes need more care than they did in the past. A place in the nursing home is only for people who need care and supervision 24 hours a day. In Amstelveen, the number of people with dementia will grow from 1,800 (in 2015) to 3,300 people in 2040. In nursing homes, the proportion of people with dementia will grow compared to people with other disorders. “We will therefore no longer be able to provide the care as it is currently provided,” says Jeroen Lambriks from Amstelring, Chairman of the Board. “It just will not work.”

LINK TO QR CODE An example of new technology that the Brentano nursing home has recently begun working on is the Vital Signs Monitor. This is a screen on wheels that measures vital functions such as heart rate, saturation, blood pressure and temperature. The measuring instruments are attached to the monitor. The results of the measurements are immediately linked to the client’s individual QR code and entered in the file so that the doctor can see them immediately. This is a huge step forward compared to before, because the employees already spent a lot of time looking for the various measuring instruments and entering data in the file.

The ‘cloud’ is another example. There are two bags of gas cartridges attached to a hip airbag. If a patient falls, the gas cartridges burst and gas is pumped into the bags on the hip. The client then immediately has some sort of pillow around his waist so the fall becomes less hard. Hip fractures in the elderly due to falls are common. Recovery is often a painful process and it costs care a lot of time and money.

SJEU New technology also provides entertainment in nursing homes. Residents with dementia can, for example, wear Virtual Reality glasses on Brentano, which they can take a ride in a hot air balloon. “They are completely amazed and talk a lot afterwards,” says project manager for digital innovation Aukje Mesken. Mesken has also put quiet discos on the nursing homes’ agenda. Once a month, residents who feel like it put on headphones during the afternoon disco with music from the past from the internet radio Radio Remember. Although everyone listens differently, a connection is created between people. “It’s fascinating to watch,” Mesken says. “Something happens. Music brings back memories, it does so much to people. Someone who is still able to walk dances with someone in a wheelchair. Life takes a turn again.”

HIGH COST Robot technology is also used in nursing homes, but not on a large scale. This is due to the high cost. Seal Paro is a cuddly robot that moves and makes sounds. Some residents feel the need to take care of something again. Paro is being used so much at Brentano’s nursing home that they would like to buy another one, but a financier is still being sought. The seal costs 9,000 euros. There is also smart incontinence material that transmits digitally when the material is saturated. Brentano would love to use it, but it’s expensive. Nevertheless, a lawsuit will be launched this year, including a business case.

DATA-DRIVEN INFORMATION With the increasing use of new technology, more data is being created. For example, data from the staff arm. Residents of nursing homes are sounding the alarm. If they need help, for example going to the toilet, they press a button and an employee comes by. Specialized data staff at Amstelring have discovered patterns in all that data. These patterns tell something about the individual client’s daily rhythm. Based on the data, the analysts initiated discussions with health professionals who, thanks to this insight, can better respond to each resident’s support needs. In this way, one tries to anticipate the request for help. “We want people to live as normal a life as possible here,” says director Lambriks van Amstelring. “And suffer as little as possible from the madness of a health care institution.”

This series was made possible by Mediafonds Amstelveen.

Text: Suzanne Bremmers
Photo: Naomi Heidinga

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