SPRY Foundation - Setting Priorities for Retirement Years


For immediate release:

April 26, 2004


Legislative Staff Take Part in Technology Demonstration and
Policy Discussion with Experts on Trends in Caregiving

Washington, DC, April 26, 2004More than 80 members of congressional legislative staff recently received a first-hand glimpse at the role of cutting-edge technologies in caring for older Americans at a special Capitol Hill briefing hosted by the SPRY Foundation.

On display were computer-based devises currently being used for home-based caregiving by the Health Hero Network, Viterion, and HomMed – three of the country’s leading makers of specialized technology for the needs of older adults.

Key legislative policy issues, from patient safety and privacy to cost-effectiveness, were also discussed by a panel of six professionals from the fields of health care and caregiving.

“Providing quality and affordable care for America’s older adults already is one of our nation’s most pressing challenges,” said Dr. Russell Morgan, President of the SPRY Foundation, “and its dimensions and costs will grow dramatically with the retirement of the baby-boom generation.”

“The SPRY technology briefing was designed to help inform the congressional staff that help write our health-care policies and laws about the emerging array of technologies and the crucial role they are playing in providing 21st century caregiving,” Morgan said.

The SPRY Foundation, a national non-profit research and education organization that helps people prepare for successful aging, is a leading national information source on computer-assisted technology for caregiving.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., SPRY conducts problem-solving research and develops information and educational materials for physical health and wellness, mental health, financial security, and life engagement.

Demonstrating their firms’ computer-assisted caregiving technologies for the legislative staff at the SPRY-hosted briefing were Geoffrey Clapp of Health Hero Network, Inc.; Pramod Gaur, Ph.D., President and CEO of Viterion; and Marilyn Ruch, Marketing Vice-President, and Kathleen Albright, RN, Northern Area Vice-President for HomMed.

Taking part in the briefing’s discussion of the federal policy ramifications of the technology were Dr. Elizabeth Bertera of Catholic University of America, and a member of the National Hispanic Council on Aging; Adam Darkins, Chief Care-Coordination Consultant for the Veterans Administration and VHA Telehealth and Telemedicine; Karyne Jones, President of the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, Inc.; Jonathan Linkous, Executive Director of the American Telemedicine Association; Suzanne Mintz, President and Co-Founder of the National Family Caregivers Association; and Jose Luis Velasco, Acting Director for the National Hispanic Council on Aging.

SPRY President Morgan, who moderated the Capitol Hill briefing, stressed the value of computer-assisted technologies in allowing older adults to receive care in their homes rather than face institutionalization in nursing and retirement facilities.

For example, some of the technologies track the movements of older adults in the homes to detect wandering and falls; monitor chronic health conditions from diabetes to congestive heart failure; and immediately contact emergency services when the patient is in distress, Morgan explained.

“A number of computer-based technologies allow the older adults to send from their homes data on blood pressure, temperature and glucose levels electronically via the Internet to their health-care providers,” Morgan said.

“Home-based televisual set-ups also allow the adult patient to take part in a ‘virtual house call’ with their physicians at any hour of the day,” he added.

Among other important benefits, the emerging care technologies hold the potential for reducing medical errors and restraining expenditures for health care by avoiding costly institutionalization,” Morgan noted.

For more information, the computer-assisted, home-based caregiving technologies, visit the SPRY Foundation website at: www.spry.org.

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