A state-of-the-art residential aged care facility in Sydney has deployed laser beams, sensors, telehealth and a robot called Seals as part of a suite of technologies designed to provide cutting edge care.
The new centre by aged care provider RSL LifeCare showcases innovations that prevent falls, monitor residents’ locations, manage medications and set off alarms when urgent care is required.
Opening the centre today, which was built to house 64 low and high care residents, Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt urged the sector to look at implementing new technologies.
“Technology will never replace the dedication and service of trusted care and health professionals but it can support them to provide even better and more efficient care,” Wyatt said.
“I would encourage the consideration of useful innovations like these across our aged care sector.”
The technology incorporated into the John Edmondson VC Gardens centre includes:
∙ Bedroom laser beams, floor sensors and trip light technology
∙ Sensors that monitor residents’ locations
∙ A smart medication management system
∙ Video conferencing with specialists
∙ An interactive robot that uses virtual reality to provide animal therapy.
The facility is equipped with a secure dementia unit staffed by registered nurses where the technology can provide support by detecting if a resident gets out of bed, is inactive or falls.
The robot, which looks like a baby harp seal, has microprocessors and multiple sensors concealed beneath its artificial fur that allow it to respond to touch, light, sound and temperature with wriggles, blinks and noises. It knows when it is being stroked and can recognise its name and other phrases, soothing and delighting dementia sufferers.
“Dementia is one of the priority health challenges of our times, for the community, the health system and for aged care,” Wyatt said.
There are currently more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia, with predictions the number could surpass 1 million by 2056. About 244 people are diagnosed with the disease each day.