Reactive to Proactive Care: How to Enable Individualized and Efficient Elder Care

May 27, 2022

The first modern assisted living facility opened in 1981 and was the first to offer aging adults private rooms, 24-hour staffing, and communal areas. Facilities like these relied on pull cord alert methods, telephone communication, and paper documentation filed away in file folders requiring manual organization. While these spaces have changed and evolved in the last 40 years, the type of care and alerting has not.

Traditional care plans measure an individual's health and independence at a single point in time, which leaves the caregiver to operate reactively. The catalyst for addressing changing needs is often an incident, which may result in an ER visit, or worse. Data-driven tools, like Sage, provide a dynamic picture of an individual's health, so care teams can see how a resident's needs may change on a daily basis. The use of elder care-focused technology permits caregivers to be proactive and deal with an issue that has yet to emerge as a problem.

Today Reactive care is limited because senior care facilities cannot accurately track what care is given for an individual on a daily basis. Data-driven tools and procedures can fill the gaps to provide a holistic picture of health at any point in time, which enriches the lives of residents and provides support for care teams to provide individualized and efficient care.  

Understand the Limitations of Reactive Care

Within a reactive care cycle, caregivers rely on residents to notify them when they experience changes in their health or day-to-day abilities. In many cases, residents may not communicate these things, which results in emergencies. .

When care plans are eventually manually updated, it may be too little too late. In most cases care plans are updated every six months. . However, the care needs of aging adults, in particular, might change daily. If changes in their health go unreported or unnoticed, their health may deteriorate further because their current care plan may no longer serve them.

In some cases, for example, a resident who is independent and does not typically require toileting assistance may begin to experience complications. Without data it's impossible to understand whether someone might be having an issue like a UTI or if they need more assistance toileting. An undetected UTI can result in a hospital visit, and a person who requires more assistance and doesn't get it could fall while trying to help themselves.

Gaps in a reactive care approach can be traced (but are not limited) to poor staff scheduling, reliance on poor or missing documentation of care, and delayed changes to the plan of care. All of which adds to lack of visibility and opportunity for  facility directors, care managers, and staff to make data-driven decisions to prevent an incident from reaching a critical level.

Proactive Care Elevates the Quality of Life for Aging Adults

Proactive care promotes a holistic approach to caring for the whole person rather than treating a condition. The heart of proactive care is elevating the quality of life by enabling aging adults to maintain their independence through monitoring — and responding to — changes in their needs.

Proactive care fosters a two-way conversation between residents and care teams, allowing for a complete picture of individualized care. Aging adults want to be heard — they want to feel like they matter and have an active role in their care.

Families of residents who may not have the cognitive awareness to be able to make decisions about their care share the same concerns. In order to alleviate concerns, a collaborative care cycle with communication focused on visibility is a cornerstone of proactive care.

Proactive care planning gives care teams a clear picture of how a resident’s needs are evolving, and fosters conversations with residents and families. Using data to communicate concerns or show an increase/decrease in a resident's health, ability to maintain daily habits, or even mobility issues is a powerful way to create transparent insight into the type of care needed.

Use the Right Tool to Enable Proactive Care Procedures

A proactive care plan comprises actionable real-time data that gives staff insights into residents’  daily lives and the types of calls/alerts they make. But a plan is only as good as the tools provided. By using the right tools, care teams can record changing needs, get ahead of incidents, and escalate to families and get a dynamic picture of what might be happening with an individual.

Unlike other tools, Sage collects several data points in real time to construct a data-driven picture of what's going on with a resident daily.

When a resident requests help, all on-call care staff receive a notification that allows them access to key information about the resident and the ability to communicate with care staff, med techs, or staff members without having to leave residents alone. We enable care teams to instantly access resident profiles, providing caregivers with data and information on the level of care required. This information is critical for quick reference in case of an emergency. The type of information included in the profile, such as DNR orders, can make a difference when there are only seconds to decide.

Through a quick resolution flow, data is collected about what type of help the individual needs. We can monitor changes in ADL skills and identify anomalies that might indicate the need for medical attention. This data is then synthesized into a dashboard for care managers to monitor without needing to review documentation or rely on qualitative feedback from staff members. The data can show trends in individual residents that can help facilitate adjustments to care plans and conversations with family members or clinical doctors.

This quick and effective process of documenting at the point of resolution also helps care staff members from getting burned out from documentation requirements that are often pushed off to the end of a shift.

The Sage Difference: Enabling Individualized Elder Care

Sage enables a proactive approach to care by impacting the lives of older adults by prolonging their quality of life. It empowers the care team by providing them with a data-driven picture of care, removing the need for qualitative evaluations and allowing them to anticipate situations that might otherwise lead to emergencies.

Proactive care alleviates many pain points for facilities beyond health, by providing confidence and trust for staff and residents. Sage enables teams to provide efficient and individualized elder care to make a difference for residents and their families.

Schedule a demo to witness the Sage difference for yourself, and learn how Sage can help facilities transition from a reactive to proactive care approach.