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Leveraging technology for dementia patients in Singapore

Nurdianah Md Nur | Feb. 23, 2015
A new nursing home will be equipped with technologies that will boost its operations and improve the quality of care for its residents.

The Salvation Army's Peacehaven Nursing Home (Peacehaven) has partnered Lien Foundation and Khoo Chwee Neo Foundation to embark on a project to provide better care for the elderly living with dementia in Singapore.

Called Jade Circle, the project includes the construction of a new nursing home that is designed to help the elderly with dementia maintain their autonomy and dignity while being cared for. The facility will leverage technology to provide person-centred and relationship-based care instead of the traditional structured regiment of institutionalised care in nursing homes. The new nursing home is expected to be fully operational by the third quarter of 2016.

According to the Alzheimer's Disease International report published in November 2014, the number of people living with dementia is projected to reach to 103,000 by 2030. Singapore is no exception to this dementia trend, with 60 percent of residents in Peacehaven suffering from dementia, said Low Mui Lang, the nursing home's executive director.

Practical and non-intrusive technology will be used to improve and support Jade Circle in the areas of hospitality, health and wellness, and the safety and comfort of residents. For instance, the multi-function wristband which will be worn by the residents will enable them to explore the facility without the fear of getting lost. Besides tracking the residents, the wristbands can be used to call for help, and at other touch points such as meal orders, appointments or when using fitness equipment.

To further improve the residents' interaction with their surroundings, Jade Circle will deploy new healthcare-related technologies in the new facility. These technologies include smart beds, assistive or adaptive devices, memory rehabilitation, mobile technologies, as well as simulation and interactive applications, said Peacehaven.

The project will also see the implementation of technologies that will help improve the nursing home's operations, added Peacehaven. It is hoped that these technologies will enhance the nursing home's data collection and analysis of residents' clinical data, exercise patterns and activities to subsequently boost quality of care while it faces a manpower crunch. The information could trigger alerts of potential falls, challenging behaviour, or conflicts. This way, the level of care can be improved or tweaked for each resident as they go through the stages of dementia.

"The time for change is now. Aging baby boomers with better education and higher expectations will desire higher service standards. The nursing homes being built today will dictate the kind of lives our elderly will have in future," said Lee Poh Wah, CEO of the Lien Foundation.

 

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