Providing better outcomes for patients and caregivers

ZuidOostZorg, a care and knowledge organization in the Netherlands, is equipping all of its dementia care locations with Ascom Activity Monitoring. The solution contributes to a safe living environment and increases privacy for residents. In addition, it provides more insight and overview among healthcare workers and optimizes care processes. 

Familiar daily routines are especially important for dementia patients. One of the challenges for nursing staff is to provide targeted and individualized support while responding as best as possible to dementia patients' condition and daily rhythm.

With the Ascom Activity Monitoring solution, wireless sensors were installed in residents' rooms. Combined with smart software, the residents' activities are displayed on a dashboard on the caregiver's phone. A personal profile is created for each resident based on their disease state and a risk assessment, which is tailored to their care needs and allows behavioral trends to be easily identified. Activity Monitoring notifies caregivers of significant deviations in a resident's status from his or her base profile. The resident's status is continually updated with data automatically collected by in-room sensors. Staff do not need to actively collect this data. The type and number of sensors installed is decided in accordance with residents' needs.

Ascom has configured the solution to meet ZuidOostZorg's specific requirements. This means that the system optimally supports the work processes and can thus improve the quality of care. Tjitske Kooi, Nurse Gerontology Geriatrics at Lijtehiem in Ureterp: "With Ascom Activity Monitoring we can see the status of the resident on the dashboard at any time of the day. Is the patient in bed? Is the patient walking around the room? Is he or she in the bathroom or out of the room? If an anomaly is detected by the system in the monitoring, we will receive a notification because an unsafe situation may have arisen."

Reporting only when patient behavior changes

Messages are only created when a patient deviates from their own pattern. Is someone regularly going to the toilet at night and coming back to bed after 20 minutes? Then this is not a reason for a notification. Does it take much longer than usual? Then it is reported. Tjitske says: "This way we only get the messages that really matter, which reduces unnecessary movement and noise on the wards. This allows us to direct our time and resources on the clients who really need the carers' attention. It’s like a positive domino effect.”

The important thing is that it is not the system itself that determines when a notification is created, but rather the caregiver who sets it up based on the resident's personal profile. 

Tjitske is full of praise for the experience with Ascom so far. "We used to run standard night rounds. Now we have much more overview without always being physically present. In the past, we sometimes visited 9 out of 10 calls unnecessarily. That made residents restless, and it gave us a lot of pressure. Now we often do not come by, because we know through the system that it is not necessary and the residents are safe and well".

I wish every department working with people with dementia had such a system!
Tjitske Kooi
Bachelor of Nursing, Nurse Geriatric Gerontology (VGG) at Lijtehiem in Ureterp

Non-interventional care

As an example, Tjitske describes a resident who was always up very early and barely slept. "She was a baker's wife and had always got up early. We often brought her back to bed, and then she would get out again. That was unsettling for her, but also for the other residents. With the insights provided by the new system, we are now letting her do her own thing when she is awake. She’s just up then between 12:00 and 2:00 at night and then goes back to sleep on her own. "It’s a great example of a different way of providing care, without intervention," says Tjitske. “Sometimes the best care is not doing anything.”

Know what to do and what not to do

According to Tjitske, eighty to ninety percent of what she calls 'problem behaviors' are not due to dementia, but to the caregiver not knowing the current condition of the person with the disease. "As a result, we often don't respond appropriately either. Thanks to the sensors and software, we now have much more insight into the behavior. As a result, we know what we should do, but often also what we shouldn't do. Tjitske mentions the example of residents who were often awakened by caregivers' monitoring visits. "Now we check in the morning via the system to see if the resident is moving independently and if he or she needs assistance. This gives the residents more privacy and peace of mind. " It's a great example of adapting to the rhythm of the person with dementia, rather than directing the care process, creating a calmer atmosphere on the unit. 

The system has been developed with and through healthcare, so that it really supports the work process and improves the quality of care. Care and ICT have really come together here.
Roelfien Erasmus
Technology Program Manager

In co-creation and close collaboration with Ascom

The monitoring platform used by ZuidOostZorg was developed together with Ascom. "From the start of our collaboration, we have looked at how the system works in practice. From that point on, we started to develop further. We always ran into new questions and each time we went back to what the care needs are," says Roelfien Erasmus, Technology Program Manager at ZuidOostZorg. "That is also the strength of this system: it has been developed with healthcare in mind, so that it really supports the work process and improves the quality of care. Healthcare and ICT have really come together here."

According to Erasmus, this is reflected in how the systems are implemented at the various ZuidOostZorg sites. "Care technology can do a lot, but it often fails in its implementation. How do you work with it? What exactly does it do? Why are we actually working with it? Working with Activity Monitoring means working in a different way, much more data-driven. You need training for this, and we are investing in it. Doing that extensively in the implementation phase and having a system that truly connects to the care staff means that implementation is now quite easy. And, while employees are sometimes still a bit skeptical at the beginning, they often discover the great added value of this system after just a week. This also gives positive impetus to other care processes. It’s truly above expectations."

Development and collaboration

ZuidOostZorg and Ascom have signed a five-year strategic cooperation agreement. After a development phase at the Volta location in Gorredijk, sensor technology has also been installed in Lijtehiem in Ureterp and recently in Stellinghaven Appelscha and Neibertilla in Drachten. The system will also be introduced in Stellinghaven Oosterwolde and De Wiken in Drachten. After that, the other sites will follow. Due to such positivity, we are exploring together with healthcare professionals to what extent the system can also add value for other target groups.

Read more customer stories