The Benefits of Digital Signage for Residents, Staff and Visitors in Care and Nursing Homes
Our loved ones deserve the best in a care or nursing home. Digital signage helps deliver just that. Screens have long been utilised at hospitals to convey information. Digital signage in care homes is the next step in modernising and rejuvenating healthcare. A goal that is increasingly important given that there is an expected 36% growth in persons aged 85+ between 2015 and 2025, furthering the pressure on this sector.
Enhancing care home communications through digital screens is quickly becoming the norm in the health care sector. Through digital displays, care homes have been able to supercharge internal communications, increase entertainment value, and effectively communicate with guests.
In this guide learn everything you need to know about care home digital signage. Discover what it is, how it’s used, and how you can implement your own project. After reading this guide you can be confident your care home digital signage project is a roaring success.
Use our interactive contents table below to navigate this guide.
- What is Digital Signage in Care Homes
- Types of Care Home Digital Signage
- 6 Uses of Digital Signage in Care Homes
- How to Start Your Care Home Digital Signage Project
What is Digital Signage in Care Homes?
Effectively it is where a care home uses digital screens (or TVs) to display digital messaging and content to its residents, visitors, or staff. In comparison to its traditional static counterpart (posters, static signs, cork noticeboards, etc.) digital signage offers a larger variety of content, useability, and engagement opportunities.
Thanks to digital signage software, care homes are able to deploy videos, images, scrolling text, live social media, and integrate with live calendars. With static options, care homes have been limited to only showing a single piece of content at any one time. This content can become quickly outdated, causing a drop in engagement and relevancy. By integrating a digital solution, care homes can supercharge their digital communications. Thanks to scheduling functionality, care homes can ensure content is kept fresh, relevant, and is updated often.
Within care homes, digital signage is often used to improve communications, enhance resident experience, inform guests, and promote hygiene and safety messaging. In the wake of the pandemic, hygiene and virus awareness have become an area of focus for nursing homes. As care homes became a hotspot for the COVID-19 virus, staff have been doing as much as they can to slow the spread of germs and viruses to protect their residents. This includes ensuring that COVID safety information is updated regularly and is readily available to care home stakeholders. This used to be achieved through posters, however, as new and important information is released daily, they simply can’t keep up. In addition, printed material can come at a large cost in time and money to constantly replace content.
Types of Care Home Digital Signage
Commercial-grade Digital Displays
These displays look just like a regular TV and are highly popular for internal care home communications. Often mounted on the wall, these screens can be found in landscape or portrait orientations.
Although commercial-grade screens appear like a normal television, they’re far from it. These digital displays possess a host of features and functionalities that you won’t find on a standard TV display. These include.
Commercial-grade screens are built to last and feature the ability to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The ability of having 24/7 operation hugely reduces the chances of screen burn, as a result, increasing the lifetime of your screens. This keeps your care home digital communications looking great, no matter how long your content is running for.
Not only will your content continue to look great, but you can also reduce the lifetime costs of your digital signage project. If a traditional screen experiences screen burn you’ll need to pay to replace the screen. Ensuring a long life of your screens helps you to keep your project cost-friendly.
In digital signage, there are two types of scheduling. Software scheduling and screen scheduling. Software scheduling involves scheduling when content goes live on your screens (more on this later). Screen scheduling, however, dictates when your screen turns on and turns off. For example, you may want your reception screen to turn on at 6 am and turn off at 11 pm. With screen scheduling, you can do just that.
This feature is great for prolonging the life of your screens and cutting down energy usage. It’s always a benefit if you can cut costs whilst being more environmentally friendly.
Arguably the main attraction of implementing a commercial-grade display is its high brightness capabilities. This is often the case if the user is planning to install a screen in a window or in direct sunlight.
Screen brightness is measured in nits (also called candela). The higher the nits, the brighter the screen. A standard TV screen you’ll find in your living room sits in the range of 250-300 nits. In comparison, a commercial screen can range from 750 to 4000 nits bright. This extra brightness massively reduces glare caused by sunlight and reflection. As a result, you ensure your content is visible at all times.
It’s worth noting that if you are planning on installing an internal (inside) digital signage project, you’ll likely only need a 400-700nit display.
Also known as free-standing displays or digital totems, digital kiosks are large portrait displays. They bring a large amount of functionality to digital signage projects thanks to their touch screen abilities.
In care homes, digital kiosks are currently being used for digital wayfinding and digital information hubs. Users can use the touch screen to browse information about the care home, see staff profiles, or browse an interactive map.
With more attention on hygiene and keeping surfaces virus-free. These digital signage kiosks can be easily wiped down after use. As a result, you can reduce the spread of germs between users.
6 Uses of Digital Signage in Care Homes
1. Wellbeing Encouragement
When it comes to reaching an audience that isn’t as mobile as it once was, or perhaps suffers from bad hearing, visual communication is key. Digital signage in care homes can be used as an aid for delivering care to residents. Many patients, for example, might have been encouraged by their doctors to perform mobility exercises. Screens around the nursing home can be used to show exercise videos or images that guide residents. With the help of exercise videos, private exercise routines can be transformed into an energising in-home yoga class.
Digital signage has an incredible role to play with dementia care too. One of the hardest things about looking after dementia patients is their memory loss. Challenges range from making repetitive conversations to obstacles like wayfinding and environmental confusion. Digital displays can act as visual reminders to assist with the daily life of dementia suffers. From helping them to remember details about their loved ones and their daily schedule to finding locations like the bathroom. A screen located in each room can also show a slideshow of images depicting family and friends for a personal touch.
2. Entertainment Value
Digital signage in care homes also enhances patient care by providing an entertainment platform. A common gripe for residents is the battle over the TV remote. Care homes bring together people from all walks of life with fundamentally different interests. Digital screens offer another way to entertain residents, whether it’s through news feeds, video, or even computer games. Gamification is already proving to be a game-changer in healthcare with games able to assist pain management through distraction. The ability to curate videos, even pulling them in through YouTube, gives staff a greater chance to shape residents’ experience. This might mean showing trailers for upcoming film nights or travel guides for day trips on the calendar.
Our platform also now supports live TV which allows home managers to overlay the shows residents would already be watching with important information like event schedules and food menus. This could be shown on a ‘Sky News style’ banner across the bottom or top of the screen.
3. Staff Communication
The benefits of digital signage in care homes are not limited to your residents. Screens in break-rooms, lounges, and staff work areas allow you to effectively communicate with your staff. Digital signage can be used to display hourly task schedules so everyone knows their responsibilities for the day. As well as improving efficiency and structure, screens can convey medical information to your staff. Displays that educate carers on medicine, patient handling, or emergency procedures will only make their lives easier, giving them greater confidence at their job.
The ability to remotely update a network of displays allows management who might be located elsewhere to communicate effectively with care staff 24/7. It also assists with shift change-overs. Those starting a night shift at a home can be left with instructions in a more reliable way than handwriting notes that can be easily missed. The more staff feel informed and equipped to do their job, the better the standard of care you can provide.
4. Visitor Communication
Digital signage in care homes benefits your visitors. For many, visiting loved ones in a home can be a pleasant but difficult experience. Time spent with family is often too rare. It’s important that care homes cater to visitors, allowing them to make the most of their visits.
On a very basic level, digital signage in care homes improves this experience by offering wayfinding information. Providing directions around the home, particularly in larger facilities, ensures that no valuable time is wasted. The same screen welcoming visitors in the reception could present essential hygiene information such as visitors needing to wash their hands. Care homes often run events for their residents and guests like day trips out, as well as competitions like raffles. Digital screens are an effective way of advertising these events as they can be updated regularly to keep up with the home’s busy schedule, saving paper on posters and fliers.
When going into hospital, even for a short stay, you expect to be provided with first-class facilities. Residency in care homes should be no different. Digital signage for nursing and care homes enhances communication for all in order to aid the care of residents.
5. Live Time Tabling
To entertain residents, care homes often schedule a number of activities throughout the week. From bingo and board games to days out and country walks, there’s a lot going on. In addition, residents are keen to know what events are happening and when they are happening. Residents will also like to be kept up to date on event changes or cancellations.
Digital signage in care homes can integrate with a live google calendar, showing all the published events for a set time. If changes are made to the Google calendar they are reflected live on screen. For instance, if Wednesday bingo night is cancelled, the care home can simply mark the event as cancelled on the Google calendar. In seconds, the calendar on the screen can update to show the cancellation.
Efficient messaging is key to successful care home communication. Ensuring that your content and messaging are kept up to date and relevant is essential. For example, if the food menu is outdated, you don’t want residents getting excited about sausage and mash and finding out it’s something else! Care homes are also extremely busy. Staff may not have time to continuously update content on a daily basis. Enter scheduling.
Scheduling functionality allows digital signage software users to create content in advance and set it to play in the future. For example, the autumn food menus can all be created in May, scheduled to go on screen at specific times within specific months. When the set time comes around the menu will automatically appear on the screen. You don’t have to touch a thing. The scheduling feature can be especially handy for planning seasonal content in advance. As a result, it saves your staff invaluable time.
How to Start a Care Home Digital Signage Project
Plan Your Goals
Clear goals are right at the heart of any successful digital signage project. Your care home should know what you’re looking to achieve with your project. Is it improving internal communication? Cutting down print costs? Enhancing visitor experience? Regardless of your goals, they will help you determine whether or not your screen project is successful. After implementation, you can ask yourself “did the project meet its goals?”. If the answer is yes, you’ve implemented a successful project.
Digital Signage Software for Care Homes
Being able to control and manage your screens easily will be a key factor in digital signage success. Ensuring you choose the right software is critical. When it comes to digital signage software you’re spoilt for choice. There are many different options available, all built for different use cases and scenarios. You’ll also find that each type of software will come with different features and require varying levels of expertise to operate. The software you choose for your care home should be easy to use, whilst allowing you to meet your original goals. For example, if the main goal was reducing staff workload, the scheduling feature would be a must. or if you are looking to control multiple screens for a care home network, you’ll need cloud-based software.
Usability is another extremely important factor to consider when choosing your digital signage software. In some cases, software can contain restrictions. Whether it’s features hidden behind a paywall or are too complicated to use, you don’t want the software you chose to stop you from reaching your goals.
No matter what software you choose, it’s important to shop around, trial, and have software demos to make sure it’s right for you.
Choosing Digital Signage Hardware For Your Care Home
All successful digital signage projects take great care in choosing the correct hardware and screens. The hardware delivers your content to your audience therefore, a great-looking screen and powerful media player are imperative.
When choosing your screens a key factor to pay attention to is screen size and resolution. If your screen is too small, residents and staff may have difficulty reading the content and all your hard work can go to waste. To determine the correct screen size you need to think about viewing distance. If your audience is likely to be far away you’ll need a larger screen. If the audience is close you can go a bit smaller.
Media players are another crucial component in your digital signage project. The media player is a small black box that hides behind your screen. After connecting to the internet, it pulls content from your digital signage software via the cloud and displays it on screen. Media players come in a variety of sizes and power capabilities, therefore, it’s important you ensure the media player you choose can power all your content. e.g. live data or 4k content need extra power to avoid crashes.
Installation is an important factor of any digital signage project. In most cases, it is as simple as mounting a TV on a wall (because that’s what it is). All you need to do is figure out where you need to screen to go and ask an installation team to do the rest. In minutes you’ll have a screen on the wall. Alternatively, you can place a screen on a freestanding bracket. This can be handy if you want to change the placement of your screen.
Once your screen is in place, plug in your media player and connect it to the internet. In seconds your content will appear on the screen.
Care Home Content Creation
Creating digital signage content has never been easier. In the past, you would need to instruct a team of graphics and wait for a few days to get a draft of your content. Those days are gone. Digital signage software now includes digital signage templates. A user can choose from one of hundreds of templates, add text, and in seconds, a fully animated, professional template is created. You can even change the colours to meet care home branding. Alternatively, good digital signage software features drag and drop functionality. To create designs, a user can simply drag shapes, videos, photos, etc. onto a design canvas.
Already have a preferred design tool? No problem. Save your designs in PNG, JPEG or MP4 formats and upload them to the signage software.
And that’s it. Everything you need to know about digital signage in care homes. If you have any questions related to supermarket digital signage, speak to an expert today. Call our friendly team on 02380 981110 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation consultation. Alternatively, click the button below.