The HSC Foundation calls upon Manitobans to support technology-based initiatives
Craving connection? You are not alone. The novel coronavirus pandemic has taught us—loud and clear—how important it is to be connected with the outside world, especially with loved ones, co-workers, and health care providers.
World-wide, people are being cautioned to stay home as much as possible and to keep a safe distance from others to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While this is integral to public health, it can be problematic for those with cognitive conditions, such as dementia, and those with mobility limitations who need assistance with their day-to-day activities. The Health Sciences Centre Foundation is raising funds for a solution that utilizes technology to enable Manitobans to safely stay in their homes longer.
The solution is called Technology for Assisted Living, a program that combines products, services, and approaches that use cutting-edge technology—which is being advanced at HSC Winnipeg—to improve the quality of life. New communications, diagnostic, and telemonitoring technologies are essential and beneficial components of the new normal in health care, particularly for older Manitobans and persons of all ages living with disabilities.
“For me, Technology for Assisted Living is about families; it is about enabling families to be together and to continue to have meaningful relationships,” says Dr. Reg Urbanowski, Dean of the University of Manitoba’s College of Rehabilitation Sciences. “Technology for Assisted Living is the next generation of safety and connection.”
One of the ways that Technology for Assisted Living is helping Manitobans preserve autonomy is through the Smart Suite, which is a fully functional living space equipped with infrastructure and equipment that improve the quality of life of many, including those with mobility and cognitive challenges. Lessons learned from the Smart Suite will inform how people’s homes can be adapted for ambient assisted living.
“For example, in the Smart Suite’s kitchen, there are many features related to ergonomics, safety, and accessibility,” says Dr. Amine Choukou, Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba’s College of Rehabilitation Sciences. “There are reminders alerting the inhabitant if they have left the fridge open, or the stove on. Lights can be programmed to trigger the person’s next step with any activity, such as cooking or travelling to the bathroom overnight. These reminders are especially crucial if an individual has dementia.”
On the importance of the Smart Suite to health care, Dr. Choukou shares that “the Smart Suite is strengthening the whole health care system because it is reducing costs and burdens on every stakeholder. Patients are assisted by technologies like 24/7 monitoring, and health care practitioners can take better care of patients because they have correct information. Patients’ family and friends will be more comfortable because they know that their loved one’s activity is monitored and that information on their well-being is readily available.”
Technology for Assisted Living is virtual care, but a real solution for a changing health care and demographic landscape. To support our Technology for Assisted Living program, or for more information, please call 204-515-5612 or visit hscfoundation.mb.ca.
By Natasha Havrilenko