The insight into daily activity provided by Just Checking can often be used to provide ‘person-centred’ care that helps people live to their full potential. One such example is Greg, who was enabled and encouraged to pursue his love for cooking after Just Checking showed he was spending a lot of time in the kitchen. The changes in his care package made after the observation have had a noticeable effect on his well-being, as well as helping him to live more independently.
However, some people may wonder whether practitioners could have provided this support without the system if they’d just asked Greg what he liked doing or whether he had any hobbies.
Barriers to communication
As practitioners who care for adults with a cognitive impairment may know, often asking these questions isn’t so straightforward. Some individuals may not always know how to communicate their feelings; they may not identify something as a ‘hobby’ or ‘want’ without the right prompts or language being used depending on their understanding of these concepts. While some people may have extensive knowledge about their health conditions, others may struggle to articulate their needs due to a lack of insight into their difficulties and the impact this has on their daily functioning.
Understanding a person’s needs and aspirations is an important part of care professionals’ roles — however, it’s not always clear which questions will start a meaningful discussion that’ll lead to positive changes in care. Sometimes, like in Greg’s case, we simply don’t know that there’s questions we should be asking.
Asking the right questions
This is where Just Checking works as a companion for care professionals. Technology alone isn’t enough; it will never replace the function or intuition of a real person: but with a practitioner’s understanding of an individual’s situation and the system’s overview of their daily activity, we can help individuals express themselves. This then allows practitioners to provide the right support, care and encouragement to enable the individual to live their life to its full potential.
What to look out for
Looking for unusual patterns in activity can be a good way to start conversations that lead to an improvement in how care is delivered. A few things to look out for are:
- Night-time disturbances. Is the individual up in the night? Are they visiting the bathroom and returning to bed, or wandering around the house?
These observations can highlight a range of issues such as anxiety, sundowning (late day confusion), and disorientation. There have been cases where Just Checking has also identified something simple as an uncomfortable bed. Adjusting support accordingly improves individual’s night-time routine, helping them get a better quality of sleep.
- A long time spent in one room. Does this match with what the person does during the day? Are they being supported to sufficiently access the community and participate in meaningful occupation outside of the home environment? Could this be contributing to disturbed sleep patterns at night, for example?
In Greg’s case, a long time in the kitchen showed a desire to learn how to cook. Other examples are long bathroom visits, which could help identify difficulty attending to personal care/sequencing tasks such as dressing or bathing; or a prolonged time spent sleeping in the lounge or bedroom during the day, which could reflect anything from a lack of stimulation to a disturbed night’s sleep.
- Frequent or infrequent bathroom visits.
Seeing an overview of how often an individual visits the bathroom can be the basis of important questions regarding their health and well-being. From early identification of a UTI, to supporting an individual with compulsive behaviours, when combined with a practitioner’s understanding, bathroom visits can highlight essential information about an individual’s health.