The elder years of our lives bring many health complications that have become the ‘norm’ in the past. Take for example; urinary tract infections.
This condition is on the rise the media and health outcomes report! While it is true, the entire context of the reporting population is not revealed to let you know why the infections are on the rise and how they are impacting the rise in sepsis.
Is it possible: dementia and Alzheimer’s conditions have increased the reporting outcomes of acute elder conditions and forced the medical population to look at ways to help those who cannot help themselves?
Over the last decade the number of people who are living longer, have significant health conditions that limit their ability to take care of themselves and those who are now in home based care or no care in the home has sky rocketed.
How can we help those who are struggling with an acute urinary condition to improve the odds of clearing the condition and not advancing it to a chronic or life limiting event?
Zanthion, Inc. has started to look at this issue and working to develop wearables that may detect trips to the bathroom or significant urinary issues with adult briefs that lead to a hospital emergency.
Would you try something that would help a memory altered elder, who cannot tell you when their body is hurting, to get medical help before the condition has filtered through their entire body and now all alarms are ringing? I would say, as resounding YES!
Here is an article recently published by Zanthion, Inc.:
Predictive Analytics Can Reduce Seniors’ UTIs and Sepsis: AI Offers Solutions
For a number of age-related reasons, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in seniors, and when left undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to the deadly and quickly-escalating condition called sepsis. New highly sensitive wearables and other devices can accurately predict and alert caregivers to sepsis and UTIs, greatly improving care outcomes for seniors, says CEO of AI healthcare company Zanthion.
San Francisco, CA [November 14, 2018] – For the thousands of seniors who live in a long-term care facility (such as a nursing home), infections are the primary cause of death, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common infection threat to their health. In fact, UTI treatment accounts for 30-50% of antibiotic usage in long-term care facilities. UTIs are prevalent in seniors for a number of reasons related to age and sometimes to catheterization – but the real danger involved with UTIs is the potential to develop sepsis. If not immediately treated, sepsis can severely disable or kill, and in the 95% of nursing homes that are understaffed, lack of sepsis discovery and diagnosis presents an enormous risk. Philip Regenie, CEO of AI healthcare company Zanthion, urges care facilities to consider incorporating highly sensitive wearable devices and other sensors that monitor and report indicators of UTIs, accurately indicating the presence of infection and empowering caregivers to act before the situation escalates.
The elderly tend to experience weaker immune systems and are also subject to comorbidities (such as dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease) that all make it easier for infections such as UTIs to emerge and develop. Wheelchair-bound patients using catheters are also highly likely to develop these infections from time to time. UTI symptoms include frequent urination, pain while urinating, and pressure in the lower back. Patients whose activity and output are closely monitored by caregivers can often be caught in the early stages of a UTI, but if not, the infection can spread into the kidneys, causing sepsis to set in. Sepsis is the body’s often deadly response to severe infection or injury, and it rapidly escalates. Patients often develop a fever, rapid heart rate, and (especially in the case of seniors) become confused – when this is the case, they have to be rushed to the hospital.
Caregivers at long-term care facilities are, of course, well aware that UTIs are a widespread problem, but staff shortages make it nearly impossible to monitor each resident as closely as is needed to ensure UTIs are caught and don’t progress. Shortages also make it difficult to ensure that residents who need bathroom assistance get it as often as necessary and that catheters are changed with optimum regularity, both of which are factors in UTI proliferation. As mentioned before, 95% of nursing homes are currently understaffed, with an estimated 3.5 million more healthcare workers needed by 2030 just to maintain current care facility ratios. And many facilities cite as one of their main concerns an actual decrease in the number of people choosing to become certified nursing assistants (CNAs), meaning that it’s becoming even more difficult to fill out those staff rosters.
So the question becomes, how can existing nursing staff become more empowered to monitor, catch, and treat signs of senior UTIs?
The answer, according to AI healthcare company Zanthion’s CEO Philip Regenie, lies in leveraging the power of AI and predictive analytics to provide 24/7 monitoring and actionable info.
“AI can easily predict UTIs,” Regenie says, “by measuring frequency of trips to the bathroom or by measuring increases in uric acid in adult briefs. This info allows for early intervention with antibiotics, which reduces the incidence of sepsis significantly.”
Zanthion has developed a line of highly sensitive wearables and environmental sensors that keep track of location, position, heart rate, temperature and more (the wearable sensors alone deliver 22 messages per second). These monitoring devices can aggregate information about all residents at a long-term care facility and display it on an easily accessible portal for caregivers. These technologies make it easy to tell whether a resident has either been to the restroom too many times or not enough – meaning that it’s possible to get ahead of a UTI as soon as symptoms emerge (and measure erratic behavior or distress that may point to an illness like sepsis).
In trials, real-time predictive analytics in long-term care settings have already produced promising results. One experiment conducted by Big Cloud Analytics captured one senior’s “unexplained variability” in heart rate a few weeks before doctors determined she needed a pacemaker; another resident, who was taken to the hospital for pneumonia, showed a rapid heart rate (despite a 70% activity decrease) that began days before she was displaying pneumonia symptoms.
“Our seniors deserve a safe, secure, peaceful life punctuated by happiness and health, not the life of indignity that is all too common within our current senior care system,” says Regenie. “Predictive analytics and AI can provide older adults with more independence and protect them from a traumatic, avoidable death by sepsis stemming from a simple UTI.”
Zanthion is an AI Digital Healthcare Company specializing in the integration of an extensible architecture of sensors and protective clothing and environmental equipment for both Assisted Living Communities and the home; a cross between Uber, smart homes, fall detection, and senior care. Zanthion exists to create new and disruptive solutions for seniors and their families to track and detect possible issues and injuries for today’s senior citizens—using technology to provide a better quality of life for everyone involved. Zanthion is a pioneer in changing our social environment with future vision, solution-based systems that improve the world based on an open source, transparent, crowd-sourced platform and social processes that accurately assess what happened, inform the correct resources, provide resources to the problem efficiently, and keep track of the efficiency of fixing the problem. Zanthion embraces a responsible future. Visit www.Zanthion.com
If you have an elder in your care, keep an eye for urinary issues as they are very quick to appear and can progress rapidly to a medical emergency. If you have an elder in a care facility, ask what their procedures are to monitor the bathroom habits of your loved ones. If at any time, you feel the answers or the situation you are interacting with to prevent a hospital event are not adequate, that is great! You are now aware that you need further help or support. Check Zanthion to see if there is something that can help your specific situation, or contact the company directly for support and advice.
If you have further questions and just want to talk about your concerns, contact Dr. Jeanette for a session.