With an ambition articulated from the outset, to develop something that not just advances state of the art technically but that is relevant to end users and can achieve business impact, we welcomed the invitation from Havenwood to visit their Waterford-based facility. This was a great opportunity to learn first-hand the challenges encountered by professional carers as they look after their residents, many of whom live with dementia.
Havenwood is a privately run organisation offering both standalone apartments for independent living including the option of co-habitation with family carers as well as residential care. Our impressions were extremely positive. There is a real sense of teamwork at Havenwood with an emphasis on shared ownership and a tangible desire by each member of the group to advance the standards in care delivery. Technology is embraced with the dual aim of optimising quality of life for residents and freeing up the team’s time from administration tasks to focus on improved provision of care. The empathetic approach is clearly visible, for example, through subtle, non-stigmatising, visual cues that signal that a resident is at risk of falling. The availability of a hairdresser salon on site, as well as simulated street scenes add to the non-institutional feel of Havenwood.
While there are many residents in Havenwood with dementia, our visit reinforced that the tracking solution proposed by Carelink is more suitable for people with dementia that live at home or in independent living units. The individuals in residential care tend to be at a more advanced stage. This reflects the fact that increasingly elderly people are living at home for longer. Fall detection was the big issue highlighted in this meeting. Falls can often trigger the onset of sustained health deterioration. We were advised that stakeholders across the health sector prioritise the prevention of falls as a serious issue. Resolution will help lessen the strain on emergency rooms and hospitals and prevent the development of other health problems. Havenwood has assembled an infrared sensor based solution to detect falls and performs frequent assessments to determine those at risk of falling. The team acknowledged that there is scope, as with current tracking solutions to improve the tools used to manage these situations. At Carelink we have come to the conclusion that solving just wandering, which is just one dementia related issue, cannot occur in isolation. The meeting with the staff at Havenwood has provided a timely reminder of the importance of a joined-up approach to meeting the needs of people with dementia. As such we are adopting a microservices based approach which will enable our software to be integrated into multiple ecosystems.
Thanks to the Havenwood team for helping guide and inform our development.