In my many years of practicing nursing and providing care for seniors, it’s exciting to see how new technology can make the lives of those in our profession easier and more satisfying. I’m speaking of the iPad.

We’re using it with a customized app to conduct resident care assessments at Brightview Senior Living. The app, created by Vigilan, has been in use for about six months at all Brightview communities that offer assisted living and/or memory care services. It allows our health services directors to access and record resident care information in real time.

Of course, the iPad is not only appealing because it is so easy to use, but its intuitive nature is building technological confidence with our staff in anticipation of an eventual move to electronic record-keeping. And, the touchscreen feature is perfect for nurses — a profession based on providing care through touch.

The iPad is also helping to save time and hard costs. Before the iPad, health services directors had to print a paper copy of the assessment tool from the computer, take it to the resident’s home or bedside, write down the results, return to his or her office and enter the information into the computer. With the iPad, results are entered immediately into a database and made accessible to those who need and are authorized to have this information.

And there are two additional benefits that weren’t anticipated. First, the portability of the iPad allows health services directors to pull up information whenever or wherever they are needed. Because they are on 24-hour call, this is a great time-saver when they are off location or at home and get a call from the community.

As the corporate nurse, I also have an iPad to connect to all the communities. With the app, I can log into the community’s database and look at a specific resident’s information and give much better advice to on-site staff.

Second, we’re finding that our residents also love the iPads. Brightview’s culture is focused on providing vibrant living with engaging environments for staff, as well as residents. With the iPad, residents are invited to tap on the screen to help in the data-gathering process. By doing so, it helps alleviate any anxiety they may be feeling and becomes an enjoyable process that engages both parties.

Silva K. M. Gerety, MPA, MSN, RN, NEA – BC, NHA, is Corporate Director of Health and Wellness at Brightview Senior Living.