Home care providers looking to keep more clients out of the hospital now have further evidence that in-home sensor technology might be a major boon.
In a small pilot project, seniors utilizing monitoring technology had about 50% fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations than peers with similar health status but no in-home sensors, according to STAT, a health and science publication from Boston Globe Media.
The project involved monitors from Healthsense, a company that already is working with many assisted living providers to help track residents’ health and safety. Now, the company is looking to expand into private homes.
Violette Roberts is one participant in the pilot, interviewed by STAT. The sensors track everything from her sleep patterns to how often she opens the refrigerator, and a care manager calls to check in if there any red flags. While some geriatricians and other experts warn of the privacy dangers of sensors and even unintended health effects, such as making seniors’ everyday life seem like a disease state, Roberts told STAT she feels safer with the technology in her home.
Prior to the devices being in place, she once fell down and then had to drag herself to a telephone to call for help. The process took hours, STAT reported.
Roberts has had heart issues and kidney stones, but has not experienced a serious health issue in the roughly two years that she has had the monitors. The care manager has sometimes called in to check up on her—for example, when Roberts stayed up all night knitting a scarf.
Like Roberts, other participants in the pilot project also seem to be in relatively good health, which could be skewing the results somewhat, according to Al Lewis, an independent consultant who took a look at the Healthsense numbers. Still, Lewis was positive about the impact of the technology.
“It appears to be working very well,” he told STAT. “The monitoring system is triggering nurses to get in touch with these folks and get them in to see the doctor in a timely way.”
Written by Tim Mullaney
Photograph Credit: Nick Matthews