Can Wearable Medical Devices Help to Prevent Medical Errors in Nursing Homes?

Understaffing is a widespread problem in the United States, especially in California, which has a higher proportion of elderly residents than many other states. Every year, patients die in nursing homes from preventable injuries, illnesses, and complications. When illness or death results from the patient receiving improper care in a residential nursing home facility, the patient’s family might have grounds for a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit.

Title 22, the section of California law that regulates patient care in nursing facilities, stipulates the minimum number of hours nursing home staff must spend caring for each patient each day. Unfortunately, many residents of nursing homes do not receive nearly as much attention from nursing home staff as the law guarantees them. There is no substitute for human interaction, but in nursing home care, as in other fields of medicine, new technological advances make it possible for healthcare workers to do their jobs more efficiently and with less discomfort to patients. One medical device company in California aims to help nursing home workers better monitor patients’ health and catch problems before they become dangerous, through the use of wearable devices.

Can Wearable Medical Devices Help to Prevent Medical Errors in Nursing Homes?

Wearables May Help Detect Diseases Early

Zanthion is a tech company based in San Francisco and specializing in health maintenance devices for seniors, both those in nursing homes and those living independently. Its FitBit-like bracelets can alert nursing home staff to changes in patients’ health and fitness levels. For example, its devices can measure the quality of patients’ sleep. If data from the devices shows that sleep medications are interfering with patients’ sleep quality, physicians in the nursing home might be able to reduce the doses or change the prescriptions before serious complications occur.  

Likewise, the devices could be useful in detecting urinary tract infections (UTIs) before patients are able to alert nursing home staff about their symptoms. UTIs are common in nursing homes, and serious complications can often develop. The devices can track if patients are going to the toilet more frequently than normal, as frequent urination and the persistent urge to urinate are common early symptoms of UTI.

No Substitute for Skilled Nursing Care

Wearable devices may provide useful data that help nursing care professionals monitor patients’ health and catch problems early, but there is no substitute for adequate staffing of nursing homes.  Even if devices help nurses do their jobs more quickly, the law entitles each patient to at least the minimum hours of daily care by professionals with the legally mandated level of training. If your loved one’s health is getting worse in a nursing home, you could have grounds for a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit if it turns out that the nursing home facility is understaffed.

Contact Case Barnett About Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Understaffing in nursing homes leaves patients vulnerable to preventable illnesses and injuries.  Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California to discuss your case and to see if you have grounds for a nursing home neglect lawsuit.

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