How innovation helps address the caregiver crisis in long-term care

By 2022-11-21 No Comments

Caregiver Crisis
The senior care industry like the healthcare industry in Canada and the world over is struggling with staff shortages. Stories of nurses and doctors leaving healthcare due to retirement, burnout from the pandemic and having to backfill for staffing gaps are rife and has led to a healthcare crisis in Canada. The same can be said of the senior care industry, in particular long term care.

As recently reported by the Globe and Mail, The Canadian Institute for Health Information’s (CIHI) annual report on the health work force highlighted that the pandemic has changed how nurses work in Canada. Fewer are willing to take jobs in long-term care homes and are more decamping for private staffing agencies. This, according to a new report that reveals how the COVID-19 emergency affected all types of health professionals and the patients they serve. About 500 fewer registered nurses were employed in long-term care in 2021 than the previous year, a drop of 2.2 per cent, and about 100 fewer licensed practical nurses worked for community health agencies last year than in 2020, a decrease of 0.8 per cent. Over the same period, there was a 7.3-per-cent increase in nurses of all skill levels working in a category CIHI calls “other settings,” which includes jobs at private staffing agencies, cosmetic clinics and nurse consulting work.

This ‘new’ reality comes at a time when wait lists for seniors seeking long term care is at a crisis level. This will only get worse as the baby boomers age over the next 15 years. The senior care industry that has in the past been reluctant to embrace technology and innovation is starting to consider how innovation can help this disaster looming on the horizon. Senior care organizations seriously looking to invest in sensor-based technology to help support start and at the same time enable improved quality of care for seniors in their care. An example of a company that is on a mission to help senior care providers improve efficiencies and enable improved quality of care for residents is Tochtech Technologies, an award-winning Canadian digital health company designing and developing sensor-based innovative products.

One of Tochtech’s award winning innovations, Toch Sleepsense has been designed and built with the long term care industry in mind. A non-wearable, non-contact sleep tracker designed to allow care providers to monitor safety of patients/residents while asleep. The sleep recording and analysis features offer valuable insights in achieving improved sleep quality. Toch Sleepsense is placed under the frame of the bed and detects body movement and vital signs no matter where the sleeper is positioned on the bed. With the Sleepsense central monitoring feature that allows real time monitoring of multiple residents/patients from one screen, Toch Sleepsense is supports improved quality of care for residents in long term care as well staff and efficiencies at seniors’ homes.

Langley Lodge, a 139-bed long term care residence based in Vancouver, Canada is an example care providers utilizing innovation. “It is truly amazing how much data we can access while not impeding our seniors that can contribute to the care of our residents and assist our evening and night staff in monitoring those residents who may require additional assistance. Sleepsense will help us to ensure resources are utilized in the most efficient and effective manner in relation to sleep and safety. I am hopeful with time we will see a reduction in falls, and better quality sleep for our residents. Those are two powerful indicators of seniors’ well-being and health.”, said Lisa Samms-Maxwell, Director of Care at Langley Lodge.

About Tochtech Technologies: 

Founded in 2014, Technologies is a digital healthcare company whose mission is to build smart, cost effective senior care solutions that offer caregivers peace-of-mind while enabling seniors to live healthier and safer lives. Tochtech’s philosophy centres around the use of technology to eliminate the risk and sense of disconnect for seniors, especially those living independently. Tochtech has developed first in-class solutions in the areas of stove safety, voice integrated personal aides and a risk predictive smart care platform. Using voice integration, AI and proprietary algorithms, these products enable caregivers to provide proactive, personalized care to extend older adults’ ability to live a healthy and longer life.