WIDESPREAD WIFI ALLOWS AGED CARE TO CONNECT As a smaller aged care provider, Queensland-based Feros Care has invested heavily in technology to not only bridge the distance between its facilities and its staff, but to improve the care and the experience of older people. The organisation also provides community care packages in which it is trialling the use of telehealth and tablet PCs, and runs a thriving private home monitoring service for older people called Lifelink.
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In 2013, Feros Care upgraded all of its residential aged care villages to the next generation WiFi standard, 802.11ac, which will allow the organisation to provide highdefinition video conferencing and VoIP phones to every bedside and to further develop its telehealth capability. Having been one of the first to install a WiFi nurse call system at its Byron Bay facility in 2011, Feros Care will use the new Gigabit WiFi 802.11ac technology from Aruba to install WiFi nurse call throughout the organisation’s facilities. It will use the upgrade to provide video conferencing to the bedside using custombuilt touchscreen robots, deliver clinical care systems to the bedside, provide internet access to residents and guests, use RFID tracking for assets, and replace its DECT phone system. It also plans to introduce new services for residents such as virtual museum tours and online bingo. Feros Care’s CIO, Glenn Payne, says one of the benefits of WiFi is that it allows the organisation to be more flexible and versatile with room set-ups to cater for the individual needs of each resident. “Our goal is to transform our facilities into ‘Smartvillages’ and we love the idea
of not relying on the wiring in the walls to determine the technology we use in the rooms,” Mr Payne says. “We have the opportunity to install and remove items as the resident needs change. With the help of a partner, Surecom, we heat-mapped each site to enable ultimate coverage as the scope was to enable and prioritise voice and HD video throughout each site.” VoIP and WiFi internet will allow residents to use cloud-based products like Skype, Facebook and Google+ to keep in touch with their families in the comfort of their own rooms, and Feros Care will offer “silver surfer” training to get the residents on-board and using these technologies to connect. Feros Care also plans to provide virtual tours for less mobile residents through live streaming of museum tours and cultural events. Mr Payne is currently investigating the use of camera technology similar to a GoPro and microphones to enable two-way interactions at special events. Feros Care also wants to connect its residential sites with virtual games like bingo and trivia using high definition video and multiparty rooms. “It’s a way to use gamification and get sites excited about connecting with each other socially using
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