An integrated mobile app has been implemented in more than 200 aged care facilities with over 150,000 clients since launching a free COVID-19 service for the sector.
Australian-based and developed CareApp has been rolled out in hundreds of additional centres since announcing aged care providers could use the service for free until September 30.
Founder and chief executive officer Allison Nikula said the technology allowed connection between aged care residents and their families, a critical factor during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The role of technology in aged care is not one around replacing care,” she said.
“It’s around enhancing connections, it highlights the power of belonging and magnifies the care that is being provided which provides peace of mind, particularly in times like now where families are not able to visit their loved ones.”
“Our recent growth has been exponential but more exciting is the fact that families who are placing their loved ones in care are reaching out to us to find out which of their local aged care providers use CareApp.”
The software offers personalised updates for families, as well as the ability to post notices and newsletters, share images, and make live videos and chats.
The app has just received a funding boost of $250,000 from the South Australian government to further develop and scale its product.
South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said the social distancing and self-isolation restrictions male the app a valuable solution for families who are unable to visit.
He also said it had presented an opportunity for CareApp to achieve accelerated growth and market penetration.
Providers including Uniting Care, Bethanie, Bene and Anglicare have implemented the app.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated innovation in the aged care sector, with a range of telehealth advances, devices and software introduced.
It has also been critical in monitoring and increased compliance demands of the sector.
A PwC report, Aged Care Beyond COVID-19, found the sudden shock had led to a proliferation of devices to overcome social distancing.
“While the technology is not new, it took a crisis to gain traction and there is now no going back,” the report said.
“Virtual health and wellbeing through digital tools will now be a core element of connecting residents, families, staff and healthcare professionals.”
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission developed the educational platform, Alis, for learning modules and staff development in line with the quality standards.
The oversight body has also highlighted the technology advances during this challenging time.
Catholic Healthcare has introduced more video calls and ran live-streamed concerts and tai-chi classes.