Today we’re celebrating our Hospice Information Technology Department!
How technology can improve hospice care for patients and caregivers
One of the main goals of hospice care is to provide assistance to patients in a comfortable environment. In recent years, the suite of tools to provide such services has started expanding to include telecommunication technology. One tool that has been seeing more widespread use of late is videoconferencing, which can provide a two-pronged benefit to hospice care. The integration of such technology into the hospice environment can help contribute to overall patient comfort, as well as provide more and better care opportunities for care providers.
A social benefit
In order to increase overall happiness and quality of life for patients, many hospice facilities have begun installing new wireless videoconferencing technology. Such systems provide patients with easier access to the Internet from their rooms, but more importantly, also make communicating with family members and friends easier and more enjoyable.
Facilities that have implemented such technology have indicated noticeable benefits to their residents. With video technology supplanting phone calls, it is easier for residents to communicate, can even let them bear witness to important life events such as weddings or child births thanks to mobile and tablet technology. Residents with nearby family have also benefited from the technology, as videoconferencing can provide a means to visit in the event of bad weather or road closures. In general, the technology has led to residents enjoying more and longer visits overall from their family members.
A useful tool for caregivers
Hospice residents aren’t the only ones benefiting from the use of videoconferencing technology. A report was published in the journal Telemedicine & E-health that explored the effect of videoconference calls on the quality of care that staff were able to provide for residents. Researchers looked at 114 caregiving meetings in which experts were teleconferenced in, as well at 86 such meetings that used conventional telephones.
Despite the fact that the teleconference tended to provide inferior sound quality to the telephone, caregivers found it more useful for a number of reasons. The addition of a visual element to the meetings provided caregivers the ability to better engage by making eye contact, as well as reading body language. The study was conducted to establish how teleconferencing could affect these remote participants’ understanding of the pain management treatment that was being provided to hospice patients in an attempt to come up with a care plan that is best suited to improving quality of life for patients.