Digital transformation in aged care
The Digital Transformation in Aged Care: 2022 and Beyond report has been published by PainChek in conjunction with VCare.

The global care sector must embrace digital transformation if workers, patients, residents, carers and clinicians are to be ready for the future needs of the ageing population, according to a new report published on today’s World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September 2022).

The Digital Transformation in Aged Care: 2022 and Beyond report has been published by PainChek, the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI)-powered pain assessment tool, in conjunction with VCare, the international aged care technology specialists.

The theme for World Alzheimer’s Day 2022 is the power of knowledge surrounding dementia and post-diagnosis support. PainChek, which is used in more than 1500 residential care facilities in the UK, Australia, Canada, the EU, New Zealand, and Singapore, has chosen it as the report’s publication date to highlight the essential role of technology-based tools in improving knowledge and support for carers of people living with dementia, as the company’s CEO Philip Daffas explains:

“Technology-based tools and systems are the only way forward if significant improvements in the quality of care are to be made, but more funding is essential.

“The aged care industry is currently in a state of significant transformation, driven by a growing ageing population, a heightened focus on quality of care, changing business models, ongoing workforce challenges, and technological advancement.

“According to the United Nations, there are more than 703 million people globally aged 65 or over. In 2018, people aged 65 or over outnumbered children under the age of five for the first time in history. By 2030, it’s expected there will be around 1 billion older people globally, which is equivalent to 12% of the world’s population. But the global care sector is facing significant recruitment and retention challenges, at a time when more staff than ever are needed to deliver quality care to this growing population.

“Tackling this challenge requires a monumental transformation in the way we train, recruit, and retain care workers,” comments Philip, “and technology-based tools and systems are the key to improvements in the quality of care, and to empower staff to build skill sets, and optimise operational efficiencies.”

He adds:

“Across the world, harnessing technology is seen as a key strategy for improving care standards and handling the increasing costs associated. Digitisation delivers enormous benefits for care providers, from streamlining administration processes, to the development and management of care plans and support functions. This will result in greater productivity and reduced workload for staff that will help unlock effectiveness and reduce stress, so that staff can focus on their primary role – to support and deliver relationship-based care.”

The report includes comments from leaders from the global care sector, among them Martin Green, CEO of Care England, who says: “Digital systems make working in care less bureaucratic and enable staff to focus on the important work of enabling and supporting people to live well. This is bound to have a positive impact on both recruitment and retention because people come into our sector to make a difference to the people they support. I would advise care providers to begin their journey towards a digital future sooner rather than later.”

Dr Jennifer Abbey, founder of the Abbey Pain Scale, developed for the assessment of pain in non-verbal patients and forms the basis of PainChek’s pain assessment technology, says: “More than ever, challenges around staffing levels and training are creating issues in residential facilities. Time pressures, for example, may mean experienced staff feel they know when a resident is in pain and can remember a score in their head, then record it later in notes. As much as we acknowledge the skills of these experienced staff, research shows this subjective assessment does not work in the management of pain or diagnosis of a resident’s behaviour.

“This issue is underscored by the increasing emphasis on the dangers of using psychotropic drugs as a pseudo-restraint. Facilities need to prove to both prescribing doctors, and to regulators, there is clear evidence that these drugs are needed. Indisputable evidence is required, such as that produced by the PainChek app.”

The Digital Transformation in Aged Care: 2022 and Beyond report is free to download via the PainChek website:

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