By Susan Saldibar

Remember the old $25,000 Pyramid game show? Here’s a question for those of you with staffing issues. Ready? Here are your clues:

  • Lost TV remotes
  • Can’t turn the TV on
  • Forgot to check in this morning
  • Need to be called to breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • Can’t figure out how to video chat from their iPad
  • Calls from family because Grandma isn’t answering her phone

Ding! Answer is: Things that waste staff time – every single day.

Okay, that’s a corny way to make a point.

All About Making the Lives of Staff and Residents Better

And, to be clear, this isn’t about dissing the value of tending to residents’ needs. But running back and forth simply to answer a quick question or click a few buttons is a huge waste of staff skills and talents. (Not to mention the feeling of helplessness on the part of residents.)

Can you think of a better use of a CNAs time than crawling under tables to retrieve lost remotes? I CAN. 

So can the folks at Caavo (a Foresight partner). They’re the masterminds who have managed to turn the most common device found in residents’ rooms, the TV, into a mega center of two-way, voice-activated, interactive engagement.

The list of what residents, families, and staff can now do using the TV blew my mind, and the icing on the cake is how easy it is to install and use.

In short, somebody finally got this right. So it’s cool to be able to write about it.

Like Nothing Before

I need to stop you now if you’re thinking you’ve tried these kinds of devices before. This is different.

For one thing, Caavo has eliminated all that nonsense of having to buy special TVs, and switch TV or internet providers. Caavo is a single device (looks like a larger Roku) that hooks up to any TV with an HDMI outlet and works with the resident’s existing TV devices — cable/satellite, streamers, and DVD players. 

And there is one refreshingly simple Caavo remote that does everything. No joke. I wish Caavo had been around when my mom was alive. She had macular degeneration and shaky fingers and could hardly find the two devices she needed to operate her TV, let alone operate them. She would have hands-down loved Caavo and the added independence it would have given her. 

Staff Time-Saver

More about saving time for staff. Because you need to know this.

A big chunk of all those hours saved is the ability for a staff or family member to remotely take control of the resident’s TV. That brings a boat load of capabilities:

  • Staff can connect to conduct a quick check-in
  • Remote family members can “take over” mom’s screen and help her access her favorite show
  • Staff can pop up the activity calendar and/or menu for the day
  • Staff can remind the resident of an appointment, dinner, etc.
  • Family can make a video call to the resident without staff help

And they can do it all from a central location, using a computer or notebook, tablet or mobile device. And, even if the TV is off, Caavo can turn it on so staff can ask if the resident is okay. All the resident has to do is say “I’m fine, thanks.” Privacy preserved and time (and leg work) saved for your staff. 

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how quality of care goes up as wasted activity goes down.

What you should love about this is that, now, when a staff member goes to a resident’s room, it’s to help with a mobility issue, or bring them a meal, or help them check their blood pressure or get dressed. That’s what you’re paying them for. That’s what they want to do. That’s what keeps a team engaged. 

It’s a window onto everything (and everyone) a resident loves.

Voice Activation

The voice activation takes all this to a new level. I can’t help but think how many more residents would use their TVs to do more than watch one channel all day if they could “tell” their TV to “Call my daughter” or “Turn on CNN” or “Call the nurse” or (you can fill in the blanks). 

Fumbling with a remote is history. 

And resident-to-resident engagement just got a whole lot more fun.

If I were in senior living, I’d love the fact that I could access a “residents” tile on my TV showing all my fellow residents (who choose to engage) and clicking on one to learn more about them. Like what I see? I can communicate right from the TV set. 

No, not like Tinder or Hinge (thankfully). But why shouldn’t seniors be able to enjoy using technology to do some of the stuff their grandkids are doing? And remember, a family member can view the screen right along with the resident. 

It was just a matter of time before someone finally got this right.

So why has it taken so long to turn TVs into these really cool, two-way windows between residents and everything (and everyone) they want/need to interact with, including your staff?

I don’t know. And it’s not like we’ve ignored TV. We have high definition, flat screens, built-in Roku and other channels; you name it. Others have tried to ratchet it up to do more, but always in a way that was more exclusive than inclusive. Lots of power; lots of potential; all locked up in a basically “dumb” device. 

Until now. 

A Seriously Cool Competitive Advantage

If I seem sort of over-the-moon with this, maybe it’s because, as a marketer, it isn’t hard to see how Caavo can bring a clear advantage over competitors, not just to attract new residents, but also employees.

If I’m an adult child seeking a solution for my aging mom (which I was at one time), I would be drawn to a community that invested in their residents and staff and had the confidence to offer this level of transparency. 

If I were looking for employment, I’d be more drawn to an employer who was invested in making my workday easier and more fulfilling. 

Right place at the right time.

It may be a hackneyed phrase, but it’s true: We’re all having to do more with less. So how can you make the job better for the employees you have? How can you save them time and increase the quality of their interactions? How can you give residents and families access to the world inside and outside your doors? 

Caavo believes the answer is sitting in every resident’s room. It’s worth checking out.

For more information, and to see a video of Caavo in action, click here.