Passive Health Monitoring: Arming Caregivers With The Right Tools

In the past, alert systems have required residents to take specific action during a crisis (when their abilities might be diminished). These systems further, put a burden on caregivers to take a range of reactive measures to respond to a call. Depending on the circumstance, those measures might include a caregiver responding directly to a call. In some instances, it might involve the caregiver dispatching someone else. In turn, that person would need to either postpone an existing task or delay responding in order to finish an ongoing job.

Such active processes on the part of both the resident and the caregiver are altogether too much manual intervention. They are relics of inefficient systems with a lot of room for error, place an unwieldy burden on the resident, and add to staff members’ already heavy load. None of that is acceptable, especially when there are better, more technologically sophisticated solutions available.

Passive health monitoring is a system of interlocking technologies that provides more timely response to crises. It pulls together sophisticated hardware, software, and infrared images to achieve ongoing monitoring. Such systems include sensors designed to read various aspects of motion, along with heart rate, respiratory rate, and other key indicators. These measures are then processed using sophisticated artificial intelligence software to track and interpret a resident’s normal patterns and recognize potentially dangerous deviations.


Do you consider the caregivers first?

Traditional call systems put caregivers at a disadvantage by only supporting after-the-fact responses. By the time the alert is registered, the negative incident had already occurred and the clock for a timely response was already ticking. By helping caregivers spot problems before they arise, passive monitoring provides caregivers with the tools and information to intervene and help them make better use of their time and limited resources, thus addressing many of the shortcomings of traditional systems.

Some senior living leadership has steered away from sensors and intelligent software to support caregiving out of fear that such tools might remove the human touch from senior care and increase dependence on “technology.” However, what caregivers have typically discovered is that automated systems actually improve their ability to give more hands-on care to those who need it the most by helping them to more efficiently appropriate their time.

The fall risk assessment is a classic example. Compared with TUG, a dubious measure that demands much attention from staff, continuous passive monitoring gives a more accurate picture with less hands-on intervention, thus freeing staff to provide more personal care where it is needed.

Just as staffers are freed from tasks no longer necessary, residents are able to put aside the weight of manual activation in favor of greater ease and independence.

Foremost, passive and predictive alerts deliver automated notifications: No need for buttons, bells, or pull cords. Seniors don’t have to worry about whether they are within reach of an alert device, thus enhancing both dignity and independence. Likewise, neither the staff nor the resident need exert the effort required to notify loved ones of a fall or other event because the system can be programmed to do so automatically.

For both residents and staff, the hands-off nature of a passive monitoring system does much to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and personal autonomy. Passive monitoring improves staff’s care coordination abilities, enhances quality of resident care, and enables increased independence for seniors – all without sacrificing health or safety.

Interested in considering passive health monitoring at your senior living community? Take the Facility Fall Prevention Program Appraisal Tool to assess your fall prevention procedures and processes and learn if passive health monitoring is right for your organization.

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