Adviser Fall 2018 Vol 1 - Page 36

A Virtual Concierge at The New Jewish Home 35 AT Sarah Neuman, The New Jewish Home’s Westchester campus, post-acute patients and residents are utilizing Virtual Concierge, voice- enabled Amazon Echo Show devices customized for older adults, to achieve greater independence and autonomy. The Connect the Dots program behind Virtual Concierge was developed by Soundmind Intelligence and is the first of its kind to be used in a skilled nursing facility. Synced to the campus calendar of events and meal plans, the devices, which answer to “Alexa” and respond to voice commands, are easy to use. Unlike computers or tablets, they don’t require logging in, remembering passwords or typing on a keypad. For older adult clients with limited mobility, dexterity problems or impaired vision, Virtual Concierge has been especially helpful. A rehab patient with vision impairment explained that trying to find out the time when he woke up in the middle of the night used to be a challenge, but now he simply asks, “Alexa, what time is it?” After a brief program pilot in April, Virtual Concierge has now expanded throughout Jewish Home’s Westchester campus. More than 70 Amazon Echo Shows are currently operational, including one in each post-acute rehab room, and several long-term care residents also have the device set up in their rooms. Additionally, Virtual Concierge is utilized to enhance therapeutic recreation activities in communal areas of the long term care floors and communities. In response to the positive reviews from staff and clients, Jewish Home expects to have 100 devices operationalized by the end of the year. Although many rehab clients and residents had initial reservations about using Virtual Concierge, once they learned how easy to use it was, they were hooked. A former post-acute rehab client, Enrico Corrado, said, “I didn’t think I would use it at all, but after the staff showed me how it worked, I was asking Alexa questions every single day.” For many older adults, being able to easily connect to their personalized care team, find out what’s on the menu and enjoy music of their choice (“Sinatra” remains one of the most frequent requests) is empowering. Virtual Concierge also helps New Jewish Home clients remain connected to their interests and communities. Mr. Corrado, an avid football fan, was concerned that his rehab stay would make it difficult for him to keep up with his teams, but thanks to Virtual Concierge, “I didn’t miss a game.” He explained, “What I liked most about the device was that it tells you everything you want to know in seconds. It was so easy and convenient. Before I was discharged, I made sure to buy one for myself so I could continue using it at home.” As a health care system that embraces person- directed care, Virtual Concierge helps The New Jewish Home staff to deeply know the older adults in their care by providing real-time insight into their needs and interests. Patterns of use can be studied to reveal preferences and engagement activities. Weekly meetings between Soundmind and New Jewish Home staff promote open conversations about how they can continuously refine the Adviser a publication of LeadingAge New York | Fall 2018