This smartwatch app aims to help communication in nursing homes
Picture credit: John Brhel/Binghamton University
A new smartwatch app being developed at Binghamton University in New York aims to improve communication and prevent falls at nursing homes.
The new app is being developed by two researchers – assistant professor of systems science and industrial engineering Huiyang Li and PhD candidate Haneen Ali – at the Binghamton University in New York.
The app aims to help certified nursing assistants (CNAs) respond to alerts more quickly and help prevent falls. The proposed design of the application incorporates all of the existing safety systems at nursing homes – alerts of call lights, chair and bed alarms, wander guards, calling-for-help functions, etc.
Every CNA who uses the application has a different visible display, as it is customized to the user’s specific task assignment. The CNAs have to sign in at the start of their shift and add their assigned residents, and when a resident triggers an alert, a message will pop up on CNA's screen indicating who the resident is, their room number, and the type of alert (e.g., an exit from a chair).
Li explained: “The problem associated with not responding in time is that residents tend to stand up or go to the bathroom by themselves. If they're not strong enough, they can't support the weight. And if they have to wait, they will just get up and go. And that leads to falls.
“We wanted to design a better system that improves notification and also, potentially, communication in nursing homes,” he added. “The improvement of notification will potentially help staff to do a better job and, eventually, improve patient safety. Whenever residents need help, they have a way to call for help, and messages will be delivered to staff in an effective way.”
Moreover, an ongoing evaluation study shows that the application can reduce staff response time to alarms.
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