Thanks to advances in home health care technology, our aging loved ones today have the real choice of being cared for in the comfort of their own homes. People can no longer assume that assisted living communities or other care centers are the only places that seniors (with progressive cognitive and physical challenges) are destined for.
The investment in technology devices for home care in Chicago, particularly for products that are easy to use and facilitate endorsement by patients—has significantly pushed the growing trend of patient care at home. Such an arrangement means big savings, in general, for the health care system as costs for institutional caring are eased up, mitigating the financial burden on society and on families.
The medical community must have realized, after all, that certain illnesses, such as chronic conditions, do not need expensive acute-care or long-term skilled nursing facilities (hospital or institutional settings) for treatment. A technology-enabled home with reliable home monitoring and intervention systems, as well as skilled and loving caregivers, can be sufficient to keep the home-based patient medically sustained and comfortable.
Of course there are personal situations and medical conditions, such as fractures and any acute illness, where assisted living or long-term care facilities or acute care institutions are recommended. However, a properly set-up home that is technology-enabled can serve high-prevalence medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart trouble, and breathing problems, among others, that should well-enough meet the criteria for adequate home-based treatment and care, given that they are increasingly being standardized and addressed by chronic care management protocols.
Basel Kayyali, Zeb Kimmel, and Steve van Kuiken writing for McKinsey & Company’s Insights and Publications, highlights the sizeable growth potential of the technology-enabled home health care market:
Technology holds a central role in expanding the market for home health care. Historically, most of its infrastructure and equipment consisted of durable medical products: walkers, wheelchairs, wall rungs, safety rugs, and the like. That infrastructure enabled basic home care but could not substitute for the more sophisticated capabilities of specialized care settings, such as on-call nursing in long-term-care facilities. In recent years, however, new home care technologies—Internet-enabled home monitors, apps for mobile health, and telemedicine—are bringing aspects of advanced care into patients’ homes.
Many excellent senior home care in Chicago, such as Comfort Keepers, are thriving, as services expand and address compassionate and quality in-home senior care services while utilizing in-home technology solutions to keep loved ones safe—whether through proper scheduling and dispensing of medications to securing personal emergency response systems—as part of customized care plans for patients.
Stakeholders in the home health care market—medical practitioners, government regulators, and medical-device manufacturers—should work out a reasonable reimbursement model for , families to find good incentives to opt for a technology-enabled in-home care, as a means to relieve the financial burden of long-term senior care on families and on society.
(Spurring the market for high-tech home health care :www.mckinsey.com, September 2011)