Performance Improvement 2007. What Are the Barriers to Implementing Innovative Technology in Residential Long-Term Care Settings?



Approximately two million older Americans live in nursing homes and other residential care settings. Innovative technology can play a vital role in the lives of these individuals. Persons in residential long-term care settings have physical or cognitive limitations that may be compensated through use of technologies. Technology may offer ways to provide lower cost interventions and address the needs of a growing number of individuals who are expected to need long-term care residence. This study sought to: (1) describe a range of existing and emerging technological solutions for select care issues appropriate for residential care settings; (2) identify barriers to the successful implementation of technology in residential care settings; and (3) propose initial steps to address the barriers. To identify technologies, the project team conducted literature and internet searches, consulted long-term care buyer's guides, and spoke with technology manufacturers and vendors. To identify barriers, the project team conducted a literature review and spoke with experts representing four distinct perspectives in long-term care--regulators, providers, technology manufacturers, and other experts--about their experience implementing technology in long-term care settings.

Assistive technologies are being developed to help older adults remain more independent, safer, and connected to the rest of the world. There are a small but growing number of technologies designed mainly to help caregivers in residential care settings. Five aspects of care in residential settings--wander management, fall prevention, incontinence care, assistance calls, and bathing--were identified as key areas in which to investigate technological developments.

The study identified a complex set of circumstances contributing to barriers to the implementation of technology in long-term care settings, including: lack of information about technologies and the residential long-term care market; perceived lack of financial resources to develop and buy residential long-term care technologies; failure of the regulatory process to keep pace with technological advances; industry's lack of standards for technologies in residential long-term care; and providers' lack of experience implementing and managing technological changes. In light of these findings, a series of educational and collaborative activities should be developed to: remedy existing gaps in knowledge about technologies in residential long-term care settings; explore ways to encourage development and implementation of cost-effective technological innovations in residential long-term care settings; explore how best to reduce regulatory barriers to innovation; encourage development of industry standards for residential care technologies; and educate providers about implementing and managing technological change.

Report Title: Barriers to Implementing Technology in Residential Long-Term Care Settings
Agency Sponsor: ASPE, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Aykan, Hakan, 202-690-6443
Performer: Polisher Research Institute; North Wales, PA
PIC ID: 8319

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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