Nav: Home

Smartwatch interface could improve communication, help prevent falls at nursing homes

August 01, 2016

BINGHAMTON, NY - Poor communication systems at nursing homes can lead to serious injury for residents who are not tended to in a timely manner. A new smartwatch app being developed at Binghamton University could help certified nursing assistants (CNAs) respond to alerts more quickly and help prevent falls.

Binghamton University researchers Assistant Professor of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Huiyang Li and PhD candidate Haneen Ali are developing a smartwatch application to improve communication and notification systems for nursing homes, which are often faulty and inefficient. The proposed design integrates all of the existing safety systems at nursing homes -- e.g., call lights, chair and bed alarms, wander guards, calling-for-help functions -- and provides alerts to users. Through a process of iterative design and evaluation with prospective users, a final design was well received by nursing experts in geriatric care, and at local nursing homes. An on-going evaluation study shows that using this system reduces staff response time to alarms.

"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," said Li. "We wanted to design a better system that improves notification and also, potentially, communication in nursing homes. 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."

Most nursing homes use a call light system, where residents push a button inside of their room to send an alert, and bed and chair pads with pressure sensors that send an alert when a resident sits or stands up. When nurses are working down the hallway, they might not hear or see these alerts.

"With our system, we provide an informative and customized message for different alarms. The message contains the resident's name, the type of alarm, the room number and the CNA who is responsible. The smartwatch will be on the CNA's wrist, so it's accessible all the time. They can see the message, hear the alarm, and feel the vibration, whether they are working down the hallway or inside the rooms," said Li.

Every CNA who uses the app sees a different display, as it is personalized to the user's specific task assignment. When CNAs start their shift, they will sign in and add their assigned residents. When a resident triggers an alert, a message will pop up on everyone's screen indicating who the resident is, their room number, and the type of alert (e.g., an exit from a chair).

"The alert message is more informative than the existing system and, at the same time, it will help nurses to prioritize. We will mark or highight alarms from residents who are actually assigned to whoever is using the app," said Li.

"The CNAs are exited about this idea and they are interested in this device. They would like to see the adoption of new technologies in their working environment because all of the problems in their current situation," said Ali.

Li and Ali hope to test the system in the future using a high-fidelity prototype at real nursing homes. While buying a smartwatch for every employee would be an added expense to nursing homes, the researchers believe that the benefits of this app would far outweigh the cost, particularly with the increasing availability of low-cost smartwatches.

"Falls, skin problems -- these kind of facility acquired conditions can cost a hospital a lot of money. If the system can actually reduce falls, reduce adverse events, improve patient safety, and also improve quality of care, hospitals will save money."

The paper, "Designing a Smart Watch Interface for a Notification and Communication System for Nursing Homes," was presented at the Human-Computer Interaction International Conference 2016.
-end-


Binghamton University

Related Nursing Articles:

Eastern Nursing Research Society honoring Penn Nursing's Barbara Medoff-Cooper, Ph.D.
Barbara Medoff-Cooper, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Ruth M.
Nursing home residents need more activities to help them thrive
In a survey of staff from 172 Swedish nursing homes, most residents had been outside the nursing home during the previous week, but only one-fifth had been on an outing or excursion.
Nursing homes falling behind with end-of-life directives
Advance directives, or living wills, are the legal documents individuals use to communicate their treatment preferences when faced with serious injuries or illnesses.
What impact do medication errors have on nursing home residents?
A new analysis points to surprisingly low rates of serious impacts from medication errors affecting nursing home residents, despite the fact that these errors remain fairly common.
Patient care can improve with technology in nursing homes
Research from the University of Missouri shows increases in IT sophistication can lead to potential improvements in health care quality measures.
Corporate churning associated with lower nursing home quality
Nursing homes that underwent chain-related transactions such as mergers and acquisitions experienced a larger number of deficiency citations both before and after transactions than nursing homes that did not change ownership.
Nursing home ownership
Given evidence from observational studies that publicly funded care delivered in for-profit facilities is inferior to care delivered in public or non-profit facilities, the precautionary principle should be applied when developing policy for the frail and vulnerable population in nursing homes, according to a new article in PLOS Medicine by Margaret McGregor from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues.
Penn nursing receives prestigious future of nursing scholars grant to prepare Ph.D. nurses
The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) is one of only 32 schools of nursing nationwide to receive a grant to increase the number of nurses holding Ph.D.s.
Penn Nursing awarded grant from Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare
The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) today announced that with a new grant of $60,000 from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, matched by $40,000 of its own monies, it will fund the scholarship of five doctoral nursing students in 2016.
Nursing community on path to transformation since IOM future of nursing report five years ago
Since the 2010 Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health was issued, significant progress has been made related to many of the report's recommendations, which were geared toward helping nurses meet the heightened demand for health care and improving the nation's increasingly complex health system, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Related Nursing Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...