How Elderly App is used to offer frail patients entertaining content during their stay at St. Antonius Hospital
About the collaboration
The rising healthcare demand and a less rapidly increasing staff supply put healthcare providers in a challenging position. Nurses’ time to care for patients is becoming increasingly precious, leaving less room for additional activities.
We want to entertain patients, but we don’t always have the space as caregivers to offer sufficient activities.Linda Eikelenboom – van Os and Marlieke van der Ham
Directional nurse Linda Eikelenboom – van Os has worked in the Internal Medicine nursing department at St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein for 12 years. Together with Marlieke van der Ham, Linda chairs the vulnerable elderly expert team. Through projects or clinical classes, they and fellow nurses improve the care of the elderly. For a new project, they approached Brightfish to develop an intervention for frail patients, and since September 2022, they have started a pilot. Linda tells the following about why this collaboration is essential:
About 2 years ago we came in contact with the Hogeschool van Utrecht. Students from the ICT and CMD programs did research on an app for the elderly that focuses on structure, entertainment and controlling stimuli to the elderly. We were very excited about this research and therefore decided to work with Brightfish’s BeagleBoxx Bedside solution. This is an iPad with an app for the patients in our department, called the St. Antonius Elderly app.Linda Eikelenboom – van Os
Patients in the Internal Medicine Department are often hospitalised for days or weeks. They mainly move from chair to bed and mostly see the white ceiling and walls around them. Patients receive little stimulation or use their energy. Especially patients with (incipient) delirium (sudden confusion) sometimes experience that they need and want to go somewhere. This can cause them to wander and wander around, resulting in restlessness on the ward.
Linda explains that structure and a sense of being are crucial for patients on this ward. In addition, distraction in the form of relaxation and recognition can make the patient feel safer. The ward has used interventions to entertain the patient, such as using a folder with pictures, coloring or games. However, a nurse has little time to do these activities with the patient or convince them to entertain themselves. This results in patients not receiving enough positive stimulation.
When patients are sufficiently challenged mentally or physically, they have a better night’s sleep. We cannot achieve this if patients are alone in a room and receive too few stimuli. We want to break this circle.Linda Eikelenboom – van Os
In response to the above challenge, the Brightfish team developed a unique app for the department called the “St. Antonius Elderly app”. This app offers content that meets the needs of this target group.
The St. Antonius Elderly app consists of the following functionalities:
- 19 videos from the past, such as traffic in 1972, Schiphol Airport in 1959 and Utrecht in 1970
- Photographs from the past of the Dutch towns of Woerden, Vreeswijk, Nieuwegein, Veenendaal, Utrecht and Tiel, where many of the patients live or have lived
- Local news and national news
- Modern photos
- Puzzles, such as Sudoku, word searches and checkers
- Music selected as a distraction from pain, such as relaxation music or meditation
- Image calling, so the patient can easily connect with the home front
- Religious texts
- The weather forecast
- Route planner
- Feedback about the St. Antonius Elder app
Linda says that the St. Antonius Elderly app positively impacts patients. For example, she tells about a very restless patient, and it was challenging to offer an activity. A nurse then put on soothing music through the St. Antonius Elderly app. The patient calmed down and remained calm at the table, listening to music.
Another example was about a patient who could enjoy movies and photos from the past. This patient sat extensively looking through the app, which entertained him greatly.
This impact, big or small, benefits patients and nurses. It offers patients distraction and reassurance, freeing up more time for other care.
If we notice that a patient becomes calmer because of the Elderly app or enjoys it, it’s already a success for us. It is nice to see that patients are calmer physically and mentally, the Elderly app contributes to this.Linda Eikelenboom – van Os
Brightfish’s BeagleBoxx Bedside solution at St. Antonius Hospital offers elderly patients support by providing positive stimuli. By displaying various content within the St. Antonius Elder app aimed at these patients, they have more positive distractions, allowing St. Antonius Hospital to create a calmer and more pleasant stay.