Innovative and sophisticated technologies could transform the future delivery of aged care said Blue Care executive director Stephen Muggleton.
Mr Muggleton spoke at the launch of the Queensland Smart Homes Initiative (QSHI), which showcases the use of information technology in supporting independent living.
As part of the QSHI, an independent living unit at Blue Care Iona Village in Brisbane has been fitted with the latest supported-living innovations as a demonstrator for research and development.
Mr Muggleton said technology could assist in providing more personalised and cost-effective care as well as support smarter use of resources.
“As a leading aged care provider, Blue Care is keen to learn how smart technologies can further improve and personalise the care we deliver to more than 12,000 at-home clients,” he said. “Innovative technologies can help people support themselves in daily living and remain in their home as they age.
“Supported-living innovations such as sensors and monitoring devices offer reassurance in an unobtrusive way, and provide care staff with continuous information about a client’s health. These technologies will support our face-to-face care, not replace it, and will allow us to tailor support for individuals in their own home, whether it is in a retirement village or in the community.”
Mr Muggleton added technology could help Blue Care extend and enhance care. “Blue Care is looking for ways to meet the challenges of an ageing population and shrinking aged care workforce,” he said. “Technology such as this can help make better use of valuable specialist nursing resources.”
Mr Muggleton said staying at home is the preferred option for many older people. “It is less expensive than residential care and, more importantly, it helps people maintain vital social and community links shown to support positive and healthy ageing,” he said.
“Given we are in the internet era, people will demand the application of technology in the delivery of care, and we are pleased to be leading the way through our partnership with QSHI.
“The knowledge we gain through the Initiative will provide us with the capability to meet future demands for care services and be a leader in information and communication technology research in community and aged care.”
Technology in the QSHI unit includes wireless sensor networks and smart monitoring devices that turn appliances on and off, reminders to take medication and devices that alert to potential falls.
An agency of the Uniting Church in Australia, Blue Care is Australia’s leading non-profit provider of community health and residential aged care, supporting older people, and people with chronic illness and disability through a network of independent living units, hostels and community health delivered at homes or in its centres.
Photo : Queensland Minister for health the Honourable Stephen Robertson trials equipment installed in the Blue Care smart home.