Are Communication Apps a Game-Changer For Senior Care?

December 29, 2023 | 4 minute read

Niuz Bites

  • Internal communications apps can offer more efficient communication, leading to quicker response times, better coordination of care, and ultimately, improved outcomes for residents.
  • Access to knowledge bases become open to all staff, regardless of status.
  • Successful implementation and adoption still requires careful planning.

In the hectic world of senior care, staying connected isn’t  just a convenience – it’s a necessity. Whether you’re frontline staff delivering care, an administrator managing the building, or part of the operations team tasked with creating efficiencies without sacrificing quality, the way you communicate can make a world of difference.. 

Let’s dive into how communication apps are transforming the senior care industry in the efficiency, quality, and consistency of that care for the better.

Traditional Staff Communications vs. Apps: How do They Compare?

Like a fax machine, internal newsletters were once a staple of office life. Their one-way, broadcast style was a “best fit” format for providing blanket updates to staff. But just like the fax, those days are over. Internal newsletters provide very little value as a means sharing vital or timely communication to the modern frontline care worker:

  • They can’t provide real-time updates on developing issues
  • They arrive to your inbox (or your junk folder) and may not be readily surfaced

What about another traditional example: posting memos on bulletin boards? It’s not just time-consuming and costly, but also limits the reach of your message. Today it’s about making sure everyone is on the same page, at the same time, without wasting your time on adding clutter to the walls and hallways.

Internal communication apps offer immediate, real-time interactions between staff and administrators that can’t be matched by an email newsletter or an office memo. With instant messaging, quick updates, and the ability to solve issues in real time, the speed, accuracy and efficiency for team communications leaves email in the dust. 

How do Frontline Care Delivery Staff Benefit from Apps?

For frontline staff, communication apps can be a critical lifeline. They provide a direct line to important information in real-time. Need to let staff know about a potential outbreak? Share it instantly. Remember COVID? Want to keep staff updated on quarantines, PPE requirements, fire drills, or anything else that’s going to impact their shift? Post it once and reach everyone in seconds. This immediate communication means staff can provide more responsive and effective care.

An internal communication app brings a level of clarity and speed that traditional methods can’t match. They foster a culture of open communication and collaboration, essential in the dynamic environment of senior care. 

Plus, they support the integration of multimedia, like videos or images, which can be crucial for conveying complex information quickly and effectively.

illustration of a woman on a mobile device screen and multi-media boxes surrounding it

Are Intranets Still Essential for Today’s Senior Care Workforce?

One word describes both the good and bad aspects of relying on an Intranet for staff communications: accessibility. A truly accessible intranet can provide access to information crucial in a fast-paced environment where time is of the essence. But if an Intranet is locked behind a corporate access point – meaning if you’re not a direct employee (which a lot of frontline staff are not) you may not have the corporate email address or credentials to access it– or dedicated access through close location to a desktop at a nurses station, access becomes limited to only a select group of staff. 

Not to mention the staff and operational expense of building and maintaining a dedicated Intranet. And let’s not forget, if your intranet is really just a digital bulletin board replacement for that ignored collection of printed memos and thumb-tacked documents, there’s a huge opportunity for improvement.

Having a mobile Intranet brings everything you need right to your fingertips. Whether it’s accessing emergency policies and procedures, benefits or balances, or quickly finding that discount code for the local gluten-free cupcake shop, everything is quickly available from your mobile device. By using a platform that includes access to the knowledge-sharing of an Intranet, and the instant messaging features of a texting app, you democratize access, increase efficiency, and reduce expenses. Plus, it’s not just about convenience; it’s about providing a better workplace experience for your staff.

What Should Senior Care Facilities Keep in Mind When Implementing Communication Apps?

While the benefits are clear, successful implementation still requires careful planning. It’s important to choose an app that is both user-friendly and meets the specific needs of your organization. 

Onboarding programs that include training and support are also crucial to ensure everyone is comfortable and proficient in using the new tools. Remember, the goal is to enhance communication, not complicate it.

It’s also important to consider that, as with any technology, there can be challenges. Personal privacy and security is the most common obstacle to overcome – some people are resistant to downloading a “work app on their personal phone.” 

The big benefit with Niuz is that it doesn’t have to be installed on a personal phone. Niuz is also a web app, meaning it can be accessed from an iPad, a laptop, or a  desktop – anything with a web browser, really.

There’s also the need to manage the balance between accessibility and information overload. However, with proper guidelines and usage policies, these challenges can be effectively managed.

The shift towards communication apps in senior care is more than just layering on “another app” to solve a problem, it’s how our industry needs to evolve  in order to continue to provide world-class care, but also to meet frontline care delivery staff’s needs for more immediate, more consistent, and more accessible information.

Ready to learn more about Niuz?

Changing how you communicate with your staff will improve every aspect of your organization. Request a demo today to see how!