Editor’s Note: McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards winners have been announced every day this week. Senior Living track winners were announced here by McKnight’s Senior Living (read about the winning entries already announced here). Skilled care track winners were announced on the website of sister publication McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

Gold Award – Quality, Senior Living

Use of the Montessori method in dementia care has increased resident engagement, improved motor skills, decreased resident behaviors and reduced the off-label use of antipsychotic medications at Hillcrest Health Services, Bellevue, NE, according to Anna Fisher, Ph.D., director of quality and education.

There’s also an intergenerational component to the assisted living/memory care program, she said. “Hillcrest has partnered with the only secondary Montessori school in the state of Nebraska, and our collaborative efforts have led to the formation of an intergenerational school in which the junior high and high school students attend every Friday and interact/engage with the residents,” Fisher said.

Technology is a major part of Hillcrest’s person-centered Montessori effort, be it computers used in group activities or Nintendo Wii for exercise, a group activity in which residents make a PowerPoint presentation shown at a family holiday dinner or the use of Google Maps to help residents “visit” important places to their lives, she said. “We have developed 100+ evidenced-based activities through the use of technology and are now able to identify the activities that are person-centered and conducive to where they are in the disease process,” Fisher said.

Montessori dementia care kits have been developed for field therapists and home care clinicians, she said, and a grant from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America allowed for the creation of mobile activity carts for use with people who have dementia and are unable to attend regular activities.

McKnight’s 2018 Excellence in Technology Awards

Other winners in the Quality category of the Senior Living track:

  • Silver Award: Regency, for its larder information and tracking system that allows the organization to track medication administration and activities of daily living. “Residents receive quality, prompt care by giving the caregivers a simple but detailed portrait of the residents,” Timothy Sutton said in the nomination form. “It also provides us feedback that we can relay to family members in a care-plan meeting that makes them feel as an important role in the care of their families.”
  • Bronze Award: Garvey Manor and Our Lady of the Alleghenies Residence, Hollidaysburg, PA, for their use of iPad technology to improve the quality of life for residents and lessen the use of antipsychotic medication. In one instance, for example, staff members had sisters with short-term memory deficits — one of whom lived in the personal care home and one of whom lived in the adjoining skilled nursing facility — record videos for each other for use when illness prevented them from visiting or when they forgot that they recently had visited and missed each other. “It has taken the leadership of our activities staff to train and educate our line staff on the benefits of technology,” Holly Keller said in the nomination. “Staffs realize taking the time to use the technology actually saves them time and improves resident quality of life. We have now seen staff evolve. They are coming up with more ways to use the iPads and are recognizing more residents who can benefit from interventions using the iPads, such as FaceTiming families, playing games, etc.”

Gold Award – Training, Senior Living

“In healthcare – especially senior care with a mix of independent and assisted living – it’s essential to keep a constant pulse on our facility and our residents, and the best way we’re able to do that is consistent, accurate and timely communication,” said Sara Wyatt, director of resident services at Mercy Ridge Retirement Community, Timonium, MD.

Mercy Ridge, winner of the Gold Award in the Training category of the Senior Living track, accomplishes that goal through a risk management and automated mass communication tool called SARA, and a self-service tablet called CATIE, both from Status Solutions.

With SARA, Wyatt said, “We’re able to streamline and centralize our alert and communication systems so that all alerts flow through one place. This efficiency alone has made a significant impact on our internal monitoring, alerting and reporting processes.”

CATIE, she added, “provides a new way to keep residents informed of what’s happening inside and outside Mercy Ridge while keeping our staff informed of residents’ needs on a daily basis.” Using the tool, Wyatt said, residents can complete their morning check in, check their daily meal selections, check the weather, view upcoming activities or trips, make a maintenance request, call other residents, email their families and receive and save photos from family and friends.

“Part of what we’ve most valued in the technologies is the ability to customize them to meet our evolving needs,” Wyatt said. “For example, we added buttons to CATIE for easy access to our weekly newsletter, monthly newsletter and added information and directories for our resident council. This allows our residents to access anything and everything that’s important to them while cutting out any clutter.”

Other winners in the Training category of the Senior Living track:

  • Silver Award: Augustana – Elim Care Learning Lab for Eldercare Technologies, Minneapolis, which was designed and developed to increase digital literacy in older Minnesotans by introducing devices and health, safety, education, social and environmental technologies that can help people age in place and live independently. The lab is located in a community wellness center that is a hub for services for adults aged 60 or more years. “Lab services include group information sessions with hands-on demonstrations, large installations at outreach events like health fairs and conferences, and individual consultations with older adults and their families,” Kate Ingalls Maloney explained in the nomination. “Take-away materials are always available; people are encouraged to contact the lab as frequently as they wish at no charge. The future vision is to equip a mobile lab to bring technology and curriculum to Minnesota’s outlying counties.” One of the Learning Lab’s “most significant” partnerships is with Suitable Technologies in Palo Alto, CA, Maloney said, adding that the lab purchased one of the company’s telepresence robots, called Beam.
  • Bronze Award: Home Rehabilitation Network, an independent online and DVD-based interactive rehabilitation program developed for people who want to enhance their wellness guided by practitioners who are well-known in their fields of practice. The therapies are studied in controlled groups, Alexander Grichuhin said. “We found that cost of healthcare was astronomical, [with] insurance not covering health issues like pulmonary rehabilitation and so many others, so we developed a membership program, delivering proven interactive rehabilitation to everyone in the world for $9.99 a month,” he said.

Stanley Healthcare is the Platinum Sponsor of the 2018 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards. Matrixcare is the Gold Sponsor of the senior living track, and Netsmart is the Gold Sponsor of the skilled care track.