Tom, from what we are observing with both of our moms, still being functional is the hard part - quality of life is difficult to achieve at that age. My husband and I decided that when we get on in years and the time is right - we will be buying a biplane (reference Second Hand Lions).
Cabe, you are right.. 97 years old is awesome! I would like to hit that and still be functional when I do!
Remote monitoring may be a big part of that. There are a lot of companies making "virtual doctors" out there right now, so a person can see and talk to their doctor live in their home.
Is this going to allow doctors to spend more quality time with patients, or will it just do the opposite and give the doctors an exponentially larger group of active patients vying for their attention, and cause them to spend less time with each patient?
In designing home healthcare system assumptions no doubt should be eliminated because using the equipment in hospital is something else and using the same in houses is another thing because a normal house hold person cant be aware of the technicality of the system secondly because that person is relative of the suffering person we cant understand the state of mind of that person as well. In short these systems should be the simplest so that lay man can easily understand and use them .
Aesthetic no doubt is a very big issue these days in a society in which we live . No matter what we are using whether the item or product is sed for luxuray , necessaty or medication people judge on the basis of its beauty , looks and brand .We cannot develop the same product with the same look for both homes and hospitals because usage and ways of using it is very different .
Thanks Tom for such an interesting article , I totally agree with you that no doubt there are many hidn challenges in home healthcare system as compared to hospitals. Although we ae aware of it that scenareos do change from hosptal to hospital than definitely it may varryh from home to home as well.
Even just dispensing the medicines correctly is a challenge. Initially, the home health nurse would help Mom to load her pill box so that she had the correct pills to take daily. I could see how an automated pill dispenser that dispensed the correct pills according to both day and time, with some type of signal as a reminder, instead of just a pill box, would be invaluable for elderly patients and it would also take the guess work out when multiple caregivers are involved. How's that for an idea, Tom? Sounds like a fun project to me that would be invaluable to the end user...
I think Tom makes many very astute observations in his article. The face of home health care is changing. People are living much longer than they used to and we are experiencing new challenges in health care as consumers. For the first time, our generation is caring for elderly parents while still raising kids. We personally are going through this with a sixteen year old still at home and my mother at 90 years old and hubby's mom is 97. My mom recently had a hear attack and after hospital care and rehab, she was ready to resume living at home. Almost all of the caregivers Tom mentioned are present throughout the week and yes - Mom did care very much about what her oxygen tank looked like for when friends came to call. There is definitely both a psychological and a physical component to designing products for home health care and the challenge is often in the variety of operators that may be using the product and their ability to do so.
Care coordination is a big thing to keep in mind. Some of these patients are on 20 medications at one time, and they are not being monitored in a hospital! The caregiver they see on a daily basis may not be qualified to manage these medications, so if something is going wrong, it may not get caught and corrected as quickly as it would in a hospital or clinic. These are things that we have to take into account when we think about the state of our patients as we are designing our devices.
You are right, the challenges are quite complex. We cannot define a specific standard for home healthcare as lot things can be variable. There will always be unforeseen circumstances rising from different issues. The environment of each patient will be completely different and a flexible plan should be made to meet these challenges. The coordination of each family member, nurse and doctors is very vital in this regard.
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