With increasing numbers of frail older adults, there is a need for a device to help them find their way once they’ve made it to a large medical facility.
Why Not a Hand Held to Navigate Medical Facility? (Photo credit at bottom.)
One only need sit in the waiting room of a large medical building to see how many elderly people have to stop and ask questions several times, and even retrace their steps to find the office where they need to be in large medical complexes.
Problems of Finding Destinations Within Large Medical Facilities
Senior citizens are often faced with a frustration when trying to find out where to go for medical tests or other appointments. This challenge is increased with the growing numbers of older adults who are living longer and making every effort to stay in their homes with spousal caregiving on the rise. Both the patients and the caregivers face limited energy, so when they become exhausted trying to find a place, issues of safety show up.
Although they may be given instructions to the building they are being sent to for tests or other medical procedures, once they are in the building or complex they are often stymied in their efforts to find the exact room or office needed. When they stop and ask medical staff they often get redirected but without adequate information to get them all the way to the projected destination. Worse yet, those auditory hints become too much too fast and provide as much frustration as information.
Consequences of Difficulty in Finding Where to go for Medical Appointments
Also some, especially more frail seniors, avoid much-needed appointments out of dread for the difficulties to be faced in finding where to go. They remember processing oral directions which aren’t always clear or easily recalled. Add to this the problems many have with short term memory. This confusion can lead to needlessly retracing their steps, asking further clarification along the way of already busy staff members.
These patients and their family members may be seen wandering around trying to find where to go. This puts one more strain on their already waning energy. This critical problem may not be easily recognized by the average medical worker who is already quite busy on his or her job. Yet it can be quite painful to the elderly people caught in this all too common situation.
Possible Solution for Seniors Navigating Medical Buildings or Facilities
Just as restaurants utilize devices for temporary use to alert guests when their table is ready, an electronic device could help patients navigate the medical facilities. GPS technology may point to ideas which could make that possible, or a refinement of the self-guided tour devices which are used in museums and elsewhere. It may require a system that doesn’t require managing or manipulating by the older adult since many of that generation are either hesitant or less skilled in electronic gadgets.
Widespread use of such a device would be expedient for both the patients and their families as well as the corporations which would generate savings by getting people where they need to be on time. This could avoid wasted employee time.
This could be a possible niche market and serve as a boon to medical establishments as they face more and more older adults and their related issues. The very increase in numbers would indicate the need for increased efficiency in meeting patients’ needs.
Maybe this is a good time for someone to develop and market a device to make finding medical offices easier on the elderly and their caregivers.
Copyright Hildra Tague
Photo Credit: missyredboots http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/133872