Proper use of technology can contribute to better content in healthcare.

This article is written based on Swedish conditions. Hopefully it can inspire interested people from other countries.

Only the imagination constitutes a limit when it comes to arranging meaningful activities. The staff at nursing homes have a unique opportunity to use digital technology to create exciting and memorable experiences for the residents. By combining creativity and technology, they can invite the residents on a virtual journey to places around the world, despite physical limitations.

By using digital technology in a creative way, we can create unforgettable experiences


The digital evolution opens up unprecedented opportunities to create activity and community. It is only our own imagination that sets the boundaries for how we can use digital technology to create better elder care. With planning, we can experience scents, sounds, and tastes from Tehran
Activity with digital support

By using various digital tools and resources, employees can create an interactive and engaging experience. For example, they can use VR glasses to take residents on a virtual walk through famous cities, visit historical sites or explore scenic areas. By creating realistic and immersive environments, residents can get the feeling of actually being in the place, which can stimulate their senses and evoke positive memories and emotions.

In addition to virtual trips, employees can also use digital tools to organize cultural events, language lessons, music performances, and much more. By adapting the activities to the residents' interests and desires, they can create a meaningful and enriching everyday life for them with exciting and varied experiences that promote their well-being and quality of life.

I read a post on LinkedIn. A woman recounted how she and her husband had chosen 24 cities they wanted to visit. They drew lots and chose a city that they visited digitally over a weekend. They chose to eat dishes from the city, listen to the local music via playlists on Spotify. They found movies and clips from Youtube. In this way, they were able to experience the city without traveling.

They visited Buenos Aires, ate asado with chimichurri, and watched Evita and Gauchos. They were in Tokyo, ate sushi, and experienced the cherry blossom and many other trips. All without leaving the couch, thanks to the possibilities of digitization. Now comes the beautiful part. The woman pointed out that with a little planning, it would be fully possible to do it at the nursing home.

When I read her post, I remembered that as a child I accompanied my father to Ulleråkers hospital where patients were offered matinée movies some Saturdays, a popular activity. With today's possibilities, it can be developed. Think about how many employees know what it's like in Tehran, Jakarta, Valparaiso, Lagos, or other places in the world and who could fill a day with sounds, scents, music, culture, and movies from their city. With music via Spotify and city tours on Youtube and a large screen, the November weekend is saved. You can imagine using props from the country, or learning a few dance steps to create activity.

The digital technology is here to stay and it is only our imagination that sets limits for what we can do to create joint activities with its support. It can be just as exciting to see what it is like to live, live and work in Malmberget up in Kiruna or to live in the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi. Sweden can be interesting and it is possible to travel in time by watching an old movie, with dancing in the People's Park. Those who wish can take a few dance steps.

Digitization creates an opportunity to maintain social relationships with grandchildren through video calls, for example. There is a large selection of games and music, and digital exhibitions that the elderly who are interested could take part in. Many use apps for their training. Many people today use digital tools to measure their activity.
It should work for some of those who live in nursing homes and who want stimulation to move more.

Today it is easy to create digital photo albums that can be easy to handle and can be brought out to remember events and people. Museums, concert halls, and operas often now have a digital range. It is only the imagination that sets limits on what we can do with the help of digital technology. The future is exciting.
- Perhaps there is one of the residents who have been in Paris or speak French. Music by Edith Piaf, a digital art walk in the Louvre, and a French dinner.
- One resident may have had some exciting profession. Fishing boat in the North Sea, movies, memories, sailor waltzes, meal with seafood delicacies.
- Before a concert, you can dress up. Everyone has their tickets with them. Take a little break, snacks, and wine in the break. Bring out a program sheet with information about the concert or opera.

Technical support


Many nursing homes are becoming increasingly technically complex. Lock systems are one area of technology. Another is alarms. There are digital stuffed animals, drug vending machines, and feeding robots, but these are not used to a great extent yet. When it comes to alarms, there are bed alarms, motion alarms, and alarm devices to draw the attention of the staff. In home care, alarms are used that signal if the refrigerator has not been opened for a certain time.

It is relatively common for newly built nursing homes to install a washing machine in each apartment. It makes it easier for the elderly and the employees who can easily wash up textiles that have been soiled.

The journal systems have in most cases been digital for several decades. More and more units are introducing digital signing lists that remind and ensure that the elderly receive all necessary efforts for a good everyday life.

Some accommodations offer the elderly the opportunity to borrow computers or have access to free Wi-Fi. Others offer access to a gym with various different training equipment. A twin bike is a tool that gives the residents the opportunity to get out and feel the wind speed.

At the same time, it can be seen that when building nursing homes, there is a risk that new technology is prioritized while human values are forgotten. It should be easy for the elderly to easily get out. It should not be allowed to build nursing homes without access to a garden or at least large balconies. Elder care should be able to offer the elderly outdoor stays.
Many units have limited opportunities for outdoor stays. Other units work hard for the elderly to get out as often as possible. A simple elevator from the units down to the garden can be an investment that makes a big difference to the possibilities of getting out.

Digital technology will be used more and more in the care of our elderly. It is important to consider how it affects quality and values in the business. The nurse sees skin damage and dry skin in a different way than a shower robot. A large part of the care work provides the opportunity for human contact through conversations and touches. Every introduction of technology should be preceded by a risk analysis.

An example of digital technology is the app developed by Rikssår for hard-healing wounds. A nurse or nurse logs into the system, enters a number of variables about the patient, and takes a picture. Data is transferred to a platform where the practitioners can follow the individual patient's wound healing process through the pictures and discuss and come up with the right treatment. If the team working with wound treatment needs help in complicated cases, experts from Rikssår can be connected as digital support.

Many municipalities now offer peek cameras instead of home visits at night. Employees in the night home service look at the person via the peek camera at agreed times during the night. It has meant that the elderly can sleep peacefully and do not lie and wait for the night patrol to come. Yet they get supervision during the night.

Sensors that warn of falls or drug vending machines that remind you when it's time to take medicine are also used. Robots that feed a person have existed for a few years. There are shower robots that can wash the hair and toilets that wash the user with water instead of using paper. What is positive is that there is an alarm if something happens and that it can increase the independence of those who wish. Machines must never replace human contact. The resident's well-being must be in focus.

Digital signing lists increase compliance when it comes to prescribing medications and other interventions in elder care. During a visit to a newly built nursing home, there was a TV screen and webcam in each room. The resident could easily have video calls with their relatives and the relatives could be involved in connection with health planning and other things at the residence without physically being in place.

When the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR) took the temperature on how healthcare employees view digital technology, it turned out that nurses are most positive, but that even nursing assistants have a positive attitude towards technology use in care.

Welfare technology is often still quite expensive, but with more users and increased competition, the price picture will change. The business should do risk analyzes for what the introduction of technology entails, especially when it comes to quality and values. New technology improves the opportunities to avoid unnecessary transports and waiting time at the hospital for those who have fallen at the nursing home.

Now there are mobile X-ray equipment that means that the elderly who have fallen do not have to go to the hospital to be examined. In Norrtälje, it is being tested at all nursing homes. A nurse at the hospital has a mobile X-ray machine. It is taken to the nursing home where the x-ray examination is carried out. The resident does not have to go by ambulance back and forth to the hospital with waiting at the emergency department with everything that implies.

It must be a big win for both healthcare and the elderly. In serious fall accidents and when it is likely to be a fracture, the resident must go anyway. But many times it is just a suspicion of a fracture and the nurse is forced to send the resident for safety's sake. Now the nurse can wait in consultation with the doctor and refer the examination to the mobile x-ray.

Even other x-ray examinations than those where a fracture is suspected can take place at the nursing home. If it turns out to be a fracture, the resident can be admitted directly to a care department without passing the emergency department's waiting room.

An emergency visit for a person living in a nursing home often takes up to six hours with transport and examinations. For a person with dementia and their relatives, it can become very stressful and cause increased confusion. To do an examination at home, of course, becomes much calmer.

There are studies from the Skåne region that show that it becomes socio-economically cheaper to send the x-ray equipment to the nursing home. Especially by avoiding unnecessary care days and suffering. More than half of those sent to X-ray for examination after a fall accident have no injuries at all. Mobile X-ray is well in line with the vision of close care.

Reflection - activities with digital support
Nursing Assistant:
• Do you use digital technology to do things together with the residents during the days?
• Are the residents offered to borrow computers or communicate via digital media?
• What can you do to further improve the care of your elderly?
• Do you have ideas for aids that should be developed?
• How do you view the use of new technology to make life easier for our elderly?

Manager, Nurse, Occupational Therapist, and Physiotherapist:
• Can you find other ways to use modern technology to stimulate joint activities?
• Have you discussed digital development together?
• Can you influence which technology should be used in the residence?
• What is the attitude to new technology?
• What happens to the doors during a power outage?
• Is there a disruption plan that is known to the staff?

Residents and relatives:
• Do you have wishes or thoughts about experiences or activities that could be offered?
• Is a webcam or other equipment used to keep in touch with you when you cannot visit the business?
• How do you view the development of using technology in elder care?

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