The world’s population is aging. People are living longer almost everywhere in the world. By 2050, one in five people will be over 60. The number of people over the age of 80 is projected to triple, from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050. In this context, home care services have expanded rapidly in recent years. In France, for example, 9 out of 10 people have stated a wish to continue living at home when they are old. Technology is proving to be a valuable ally in enabling people to stay at home and remain independent as long as possible.
What possibilities do new technologies offer?
Caring for the elderly at home means first satisfying their needs and expectations in terms of safety, comfort, mobility, and sociability (combating loneliness and maintaining social ties). New technologies can play an important role in facilitating daily tasks and creating a safe environment.
Many tools, such as smart home solutions, emergency calling systems, and robotics already help to better manage eldercare at home. However, technology can never replace the human contact provided by personal care workers.
Home care services are an undeniable component of “living well at home in complete autonomy” and a bulwark against the dehumanization of services and the loss of human contact.
The OECD assumes that by 2040, 13.5 Million caregivers will be needed in its member countries. Caregiving is a job that is often low paid and exhausting. Those who take care of the elderly at home make dozens of visits each day. Schedules are tight and travel time is often unpaid. Frequently, this means that there is not enough time for the actual care work and for individual contact with the clients.
Good time and travel management can help home care workers
So how can home care companies not only guarantee the quality of service but also the quality of working conditions for their staff?
A guide to good practice published by the French Ministry of Social Affairs highlights the need to optimize schedules and modulate visit times to ensure maximum care quality. Reducing travel times means having more time to provide care and enhances the quality.
Good travel and time management is an important issue here. By optimizing different routes from one client to the next, travel times and mileage can be reduced – which means there are fewer interruptions and more regularity in the schedules.
But what solutions exist today to achieve these objectives of time management and mobility optimization? Here again, new technologies come in:
Optimization software enables more efficient planning and scheduling. By optimizing routes, travel time is shorter, and mileage reduced. Home care workers spend less time on the road and therefore have more time for their clients. This results in less stress related to the journeys and therefore in greater availability for high-quality service.
Software solutions make it possible to automatically schedule appointments while maintaining a perfect balance between clients’ expectations and the constraints of the home care staff. Such solutions allow caregivers to maximize the time they spend with their clients, which, in turn, generally results in greater satisfaction with the care provided.
Michel Sasportas, CEO of Danem company, which supports local authorities in their management of home services, can confirm this: “Route planning has considerably contributed to the fact that digitization makes sense in the care sector. For example, technological developments such as the Cloud now make it possible to use a mobile application in order to complete the forms in real time instead of returning to the office only to submit the paper version.”