One KOTA Territory care center is looking to save money by removing live-in nighttime caregivers in exchange for Skype-like video systems.
Brad Saathoff, Black Hills Works CEO, says currently staff members spend the night in smaller homes of those with special needs. He says replacing those people with cameras would save the organization tens of thousands of dollars.
Saathoff says the video system has two-way communication with caregiver, who is monitoring at all times. Motion detectors that sense disturbances are also a part of what is called "Telecare." He says staff members will still be roving to check on people, they just won't be sleeping over.
These proposed changes have not gone without concern from some family members. But Saathoff says federal funding is so tight in South Dakota that he can't afford to keep the homes open without some sort of change. "The fact of the matter is that we have to find something to do differently because we cannot make ends meet in the smaller homes," said Saathoff. "Either funding has to be enhanced for them, or costs have to be reduced somehow. We have to find something within those options."
Saathoff says the organization is still in the planning and research stage of Telecare.