Health Care & Prevention
Falls, chronic diseases or injuries can create big problems for older adults. With increasing age any kind of incident could cause serious harm to the individual and therefore should be prevented or treated accordingly. Smart technologies are vital in this context to analyse, prevent and medicate possible health issues.
Injuries and diseases can cause severe problems for seniors of high age – often they are very costly and have long lasting consequences. Many kinds of possible threats can create major issues and restrain seniors in their daily routine. It is therefore vital to be prepared for eventualities and regularly check on common issues.
One major aspect is constituted by falling accidents which are the most important cause for injuries accompanying increased age. Many people in require support when walking, for example when going to the toilet. If seniors are not supervised and fall, they generally have a high chance to hurt themselves more severely than a younger person. Prevention methods have therefore to be integrated and set up in the home or room of the patient and its settings might need to be personalised to best suit the patient.
Chronic diseases are another major aspect. They can cause ongoing problems and therefore need constant treatment, like dialysis for kidney failure. Since those treatments are generally costly and constantly affect the life of a senior to a great extent, they are an important part of geriatric healthcare. However, many of them are avoidable with the right lifestyle and proper preparation.
A number of strategies have been elaborated to deal with diseases and injuries in high age and how to prevent them. Fall prevention strategies and guidelines have been worked out to reduce the possibility of a potential fall to a minimum, but also modern technology can help to support this. Much advancement has also been made in the field of technology promoting brain and mental health as well as physical wellbeing to prevent falls.
Checking on common senior problems (concerning memory loss, depression, or pain) via screening is vital to predict possible negative developments. In this regard many preventive health services have been established to address this issue in a proper manner.
If a disease is already present, it is also important to understand it in its entirety to further medicate it properly. By that, the suffering can be alleviated or even completely stopped.
Types and models
Health screening: Screening is a preventive measure that can be used to detect various common risk factors with technological devices. Detecting these factors can help to assess the problem and starting a treatment already in the early stages may help to resolve an issue bevor it can expand.
Fall detection and prevention: Fall detection products and services utilise cameras and sensors to help control patients and react in case of a fall. Devices monitoring vital signs can also be used to help determine the severity of a fall and the medical state of the patient after the fall. Fall prevention describes preventive methods to reduce the fall rate by offering support to users to be able to move with more security and determination.
Disease management: Already existing symptoms but also chronic diseases can be properly managed only when fully understood. Many disease-specific guidelines and protocols already exist to approach the issue accordingly; in addition severally disease management programs have been developed. Specific chronic care devices and programs can alleviate the problems.
Primary target groups: Autonomous older adults: group of older adults, who are able to live their lives independently. Persons in need of care: describes the group of persons in need of care, such as older adults, who cannot manage their everyday life independently, without help from caregivers or relatives.
Secondary target groups: People with disabilities: people with physical or mental disabilities, who cannot manage their everyday life independently and who can benefit from AAL technologies. Professional and informal caregivers: professionally trained caregivers, such as nurses or other caretakers, as well as relatives or friends who take care of older adults and persons in need of care.
Telecare & Telehealth
Telecare and Telehealth describes a kind of technology that makes it possible to communicate with caregivers and doctors even if they are far away. With the help of devices such as blood pressure meters or body scales important vital data can be recorded digitally and sent to doctors and nurses automatically. If the measurements show abnormalities, the medic or caretaker can get in touch with the patient via telephone or computer.
Telecare and Telehealth describe procedures in modern medicine where diagnosis, therapies and consultations are technologically supported to enable treatment independent of spatial distances. Therefore, measurements of vital data, such as blood pressure can be taken autonomously by the patient him-/herself or from wearable devices or sensors in the patient’s residential area.
The gathered measurements can be sent to the patient’s smartphone or computer automatically or by pushing a button. After that, the data can be sent to the caregiving doctor and nurses for analysis and selection of any necessary health measures. Following consultations can be done via telephone or via video call from a computer, tablet or smartphone. Advantages in this procedure are that people with disabled movement abilities can be discharged through a reduction of personal visits at the medical practice.
Furthermore, the therapy measures can be optimized by the complete automated transmission and storage of medical patient data, as well as their evaluation. Some of the Telemedicine systems provide functions like an automated emergency call, when it comes to critical vital values. In this case, doctors and nurses can take immediate action to treat the persons in need.
However, Telehealth and Telecare is not always possible. Some cases require a real consultation on site, for example, if a specialist, a special hospital or similar needs to be visited for treatment.
Types and models
Teleconsulting: describes any kind of medical consulting, like therapy, in which communication technology is used to bridge long distances. This kind of consultation can for example be done via telephone, computer, smartphone and tablet.
Telediagnostics: describes a remote diagnosis based on the indication of certain symptoms or problems without examining the patient. The diagnosis can be supported by independent and conscientious measurements of vital signs and their transmission by the patient.
Telemonitoring: describes the surveillance of patients and people in need of care from distance. This can be done using video cameras, sensors, microphones or portable devices that measure vital signs.
Tele-rehabilitation Teletherapy: describes the delivery of rehabilitation actions with the help of ICT-services and the internet. Part of the teletherapy methods can be the prescription of medical recipes. Fields of tele-rehabilitation practises are for example physical therapy and speech-language pathology.
Primary target groups: Autonomous older adults: group of older adults, who are able to live their lives independently. Persons in need of care: describes the group of persons in need of care, such as older adults, who cannot manage their everyday life independently, without help from caregivers or relatives. Professional and informal caregivers: professionally trained caregivers, such as nurses or other caretakers, as well as relatives or friends who take care of older adults and persons in need of care. Professional and informal caregivers: professionally trained caregivers, such as nurses or other caretakers, as well as relatives or friends who take care of older adults and persons in need of care.
Secondary target groups: People with disabilities: people with physical or mental disabilities, who cannot manage their everyday life independently and who can benefit from AAL technologies.