How Technology Helps Our Residents Sleep Better

By Michael Gestetner, Director, Hillside Haven Retirement Residence

According to the National Sleep Foundation, seniors need the same amount of sleep as young and middle-aged adults. Unfortunately, many seniors have difficulties with sleep, struggling to fall asleep or remain sleeping long enough to satisfy their needs. There can be many causes, including medication influences or changes to their sleep architecture–the overall makeup of sleep rhythms. Lack of proper sleep can adversely affect a senior’s happiness, appetite and health.

Knowing all of this, at Hillside Haven we take rest very seriously. We ensure that the environment of the building is conducive to it between 8 pm and 8 am by turning common TVs low, avoiding congregation in common areas near suites and by not doing noisy activities that may disturb those that are asleep. There was one thing that we did in the past that wasn’t conducive to proper resident sleep but truly had no choice in the matter. This was our nightly wellbeing checks.

Wellbeing checks are exactly what they sound like. A staff member peeks into a suite to ensure that a resident is OK. They are usually done in the middle of the night on a regular basis for specific residents, although it can also be done for those that aren’t feeling well or upon a family’s request. Although the staff member is as quiet as possible, due to the changes in their sleep architecture, the simple act of opening the door and letting light in can easily disturb the resident’s sleep.

This necessary evil was unavoidable, then along came HealthInRealTime — a 21st century medical alert system that uses IoT to build SMART Communities: those that improve Safety, Mental/physical health, Activity, Rest and Togetherness.

Now that we have a HealthInRealTime system we no longer have a need for most wellbeing checks, especially those disturbing ones in middle of the night. Our staff are automatically alerted to incidents such as a resident falling out of bed, or inattentive wandering. They can now take decisive and immediate action to emergencies without interrupting our residents’ precious sleep.

This has had an immediate effect on the environment of our home. The chain-effect of proper sleep leads to happier residents which in turn makes it easier on staff, who then become happier themselves. This cycle has drastically improved life at Hillside Haven for our residents, their families and our staff.

The three ways HealthInRealTime improved our resident’s rest and sleep are:

  1. Having a system that automatically detects emergencies eliminated the need for disturbing nighttime wellbeing checks
  2. Immediately responding to a sleepwalking resident prevents the possibility of them disturbing others
  3. Residents (and their families) can sleep easily knowing that staff will be instantaneously alerted in the case of an emergency

We are proud to be a SMART Community.