Digital health technologies, apps, and informatics for patient education, medicine and nursing, preventative interventions, and clinical care / home care for elderly populations
Editor-in-Chief: Jing Wang, Professor and Vice Dean for Research, Hugh Roy Cullen Professor, UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, San Antonio, TX, USA
Jing Wang, Professor and Vice Dean for Research, Hugh Roy Cullen Professor, UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, San Antonio, TX, USA
Assistive technologies for people with dementia and their relatives have the potential to ensure, improve, and facilitate home care and thereby enhance the health of the people caring or being cared for. The number and diversity of technologies and research have continuously increased over the past few decades. As a result, the research field has become complex.
Worldwide, the population is aging rapidly; therefore, there is a growing interest in strategies to support and maintain health and well-being in later life. Although familiarity with technology and digital literacy are increasing among this group, some older adults still lack confidence in their ability to use web-based technologies. In addition, age-related changes in cognition, vision, hearing, and perception may be barriers to adoption and highlight the need for digital tools developed specifically to meet the unique needs of older adults.
Management of osteoporosis is an important consideration for patients with femoral neck fractures due to the morbidity and mortality it poses. The input of orthogeriatric teams is invaluable in coordinating secondary fragility fracture prevention. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the rapid restructuring of health care teams and led to the redeployment of orthogeriatricians.
There is a lack of technological resources for the mental stimulation and communication of people with dementia, which can be helpful in improving cognition and quality of life. Paper-based individual cognitive stimulation therapy (iCST) for people with dementia has the potential to be adapted to a touchscreen format. This can improve accessibility and provide mental stimulation using interactive features. There is a need for a rigorous and systematic approach toward development, leading to improved suitability and implementation of the intervention, so that more people can benefit from its use.
Telephone and video telemedicine appointments have been a crucial service delivery method during the COVID-19 pandemic for maintaining access to health care without increasing the risk of exposure. Although studies conducted prior to the pandemic have suggested that telemedicine is an acceptable format for older adults, there is a paucity of data on the practical implementation of telemedicine visits. Due to prior lack of reimbursement for telemedicine visits involving nonrural patients, no studies have compared telephone visits to video visits in geriatric primary care.
The Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies can create smart residences that integrate technology within the home to enhance residents’ safety as well as monitor their health and wellness. However, there has been little research on real-world testing of IoT smart home devices with older adults, and the feasibility and acceptance of such tools have not been systematically examined.
Despite the evidence suggesting a high rate of cerebrovascular complications in patients with SARS-CoV-2, reports have indicated decreasing rates of new ischemic stroke diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The observed decrease in emergency department (ED) visits is unsurprising during this major crisis, as patients are likely to prioritize avoiding exposure to SARS-CoV-2 over addressing what they may perceive as mild symptoms of headache, lethargy, difficulty speaking, and numbness. In the central and south Texas regions where we practice, we suspect that patient admission, treatment, and discharge volumes for acute stroke treatment have decreased significantly since COVID-19–related shelter-at-home orders were issued. Symptoms of stroke are frequently noticed by a family member, friend, or community member before they are recognized by the patients themselves, and these symptoms may be going unnoticed due to limited face-to-face encounters. This possibility emphasizes the importance of patient education regarding stroke warning signs and symptoms during the current period of isolation and social-distancing. The south Texas population, already saddled with above-average rates of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, has a higher stroke mortality rate compared to Texas and U.S. averages; however, the number of patients presenting to EDs with acute ischemic stroke diagnoses is lower than average. In our viewpoint, we aim to present the relative literature to date and outline our ongoing analyses of the highly affected and diverse stroke populations in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, to answer a simple question: where did all our stroke patients go?
Internet-based dementia caregiver interventions have been shown to be effective for a range of caregiver outcomes; however, little is known about how to best implement them. We developed iGeriCare, an evidence-based, multimedia, web-based educational resource for family caregivers of people living with dementia.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is prevalent among older adults. Promoting physical activity and increasing exercise capacity are recommended for all individuals with COPD. Pulmonary rehabilitation is the standard of care to improve exercise capacity, although there are barriers that hinder accessibility. Technology has the potential to overcome some of these barriers, but it is unclear how aging adults with a chronic disease like COPD perceive technology-based platforms to support their disease self-management.
The number of older people with unmet care and support needs is increasing substantially due to the challenges facing the formal and informal care systems. Emerging technological developments have the potential to address some of the care and support challenges of older people. However, limited work has been done to identify emerging technological developments with the potential to meet the care and support needs of the aging population.
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