Personal life stories are critical to the successful care of people living with dementia. Finding relaxing activities that are tailor-made to touch upon the person’s life history provides a great deal of meaning and wellbeing for his/her care. Unfortunately, during these COVID-19times, options to explore and go out are scarce.
My idea is to provide patients with an opportunity to revisit familiar places from their past through interactive video walks. The recorded walk would include both audio and video, and most importantly be filmed in a place of familiarity from the patient’s life – perhaps a neighborhood where he grew up; or perhaps walks in the forest with a dog if she did this as a child.
The ambition is to provide meaning, revive memories, and reduce anxiety and fear for dementia-diagnosed patients during tough COVID-19 conditions. I want to make this time more meaningful and interesting for our patients, and for them to revisit a life and time in the past that was a little more joyful and light.
My mother-in-law, living with both dementia and Parkinson's disease, murmurs, "I forget" quite often. What if dementia patients had a software app addressing the memory loss, isolation from family and friends during COVID-19, and the need for mental stimulation? What if this app also included all of their current medical and self-care needs as well as current caregivers and daily schedule? The app would also contain some of the patients life prior to memory loss.
My idea is ”Wait! I Remember!” -a three-part software app for tablets.
Part one: compilation of patient information, including appointments, self-care, medications, and allergies.
Part two: descriptions of caregivers, doctors, family/friends, personal history of the patient with photos and videos.
Part three: matching games from Part two content. Friends and family could upload photos, stories, and videos to be posted and cataloged on Part two.
When a dementia patient poses a question, the caregiver refers the patient to the app to and the answer.
The overall goal being patient engagement and reducing caregiver fatigue. During COVID-19, the app would help bring family and friends into the patient's world virtually keeping all of us safe. At the same time, the patient could play matching games that reflect their current life but also past memories.
Family could upload funny stories, pictures of grandkids or previous pets and the patient could match those pictures with names to stimulate brain activity and reduce the isolation of COVID-19.
Antibiotic infusions are being prescribed more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic. My idea is to improve the process for the preparation of antibiotic infusions so more time may be spent on patient care.
Today, these infusions are often in the form of a powder that must be dissolved in solvents. I suggest the creation of a sterile bar that can be inserted into the solution in efforts to mix it safely and quickly.
I developed a mechanism in the transfer cannula that allows the sterile stirring bar to drop into the solution without coming into contact with the outside environment.
I noticed during my rotation in gerontology and vascular surgery that nursing teams frequently had difficulties dissolving the powder into the solvent. This is made even more challenging because antibiotics are not to be shaken so to avoid small air bubbles.
In alleviating and easing the process of mixing antibiotic infusions, nursing teams can spend valuable time on caring for patients instead. There are many older people who are in the COVID-19risk group, and they are particularly prone to infections, especially since they have a higher chance of having a weakened immune system. I hope my idea improves the care process by allowing more time for interpersonal care for at-risk patients during these challenging times.
FinnHELP offers free, short-term discussion assistance for Finland’s healthcare professionals who are experiencing exhaustion or stress during our ongoing fight againstCOVID-19.During this time, we’ve been hosting video chat meetings for mentally and physically exhausted colleagues. We want to support their mental resilience and let them share their experience. We will publish more detailed results from FinnHELP discussions in the near future.
In April 2020, FinnHELP built a website, recruited professional support (crisis care professionals with expertise in acute care challenges), and built an appointment system for Finland's healthcare professionals.
Our fellow healthcare colleagues found us through an extensive national membership and social media follows.
Fighting COVID-19 or being infected asymptomatically does not mean that there will no longer be any problems for patients. People who have had the disease complain about a weakened state of the body, and there are reports (The New England Journal of Medicine)of those who have been infected – including asymptomatically having a higher risk of stroke.
My idea is to assign a health visitor to patients who have hadCOVID-19. A nurse would regularly perform a telehealth interview, and then perhaps once a month make a physical visit to the patient’s home to conduct a clinical exam, an interview, and take blood for laboratory tests. The patient would have access to the nurse via telephone to raise any concerns of changing symptoms. The nurse would in turn coordinate efforts with health authorities.
My hope is that this type of monitoring of would help present and control complications after battling COVID-19. Monitoring and assessing patients after their illness would improve our overall treatment response in the future.
During the pandemic, oral communication between patients and nurses has declined due to the high risk of infections. Patients often press the call button as they lack attention, communication, or support; and this has become even more apparent due to the restrictions on outside visitors.
For nurses, this presents a particularly stressful situation in which they are providing support and oftentimes non-health related information continuously along with the procedural and documentation work that must coincide with the call.
My idea is to facilitate patient to nurse communication and other healthcare professionals while avoiding potential infection risk with face-to-face contact.
As voice messaging is a very relevant part of our modern life and eases communications greatly, I would like to propose a similar idea in healthcare facilities as well. It may not always be necessary for a nurse to visit the patient. Perhaps a patient would like to ask for some help or information which might not be particularly urgent.
With “Voice Letters”, a patient can send a voice mail to the nurses station, where the team can receive and document the request. The nurses would be able to assess the urgency of the message, and prepare a response accordingly. I believe that this form of communication would be more useful than the usual call button, as oftentimes it is unclear whether the request is urgent or not.