Welbi Technologies Inc

Ottawa, Canada
Gabriel Rubio, Head of Product & Operations
Which of the following best describes your company?
Small- or medium-sized company

Type of company (check all applicable)
  • Health Tech
  • Software

If other, please specify

Area of Specialization
  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Digital Health
  • SaaS (software as a service)

If other, please specify

Do you have a need for / interest in hiring a coop/intern student?

Describe your company's current technology and solutions
Please see two questions below

Are you aware of any current government challenges or opportunities that would be addressed by using your technology solution? Or a future need you can identify?
Yes we are aware

As the COVID crisis continues, please describe specific opportunities where your technology might support Canadian needs / government needs
As a result of the necessary precautionary actions being taken in senior living communities to avoid and reduce the spread of COVID-19, older adults in these communities are now facing another health risk that will not only have a serious impact on their health and wellbeing, but also further strain our already overwhelmed healthcare system.

This health risk is social isolation. Currently these older adults, have been forced to self isolate themselves in their rooms alone without any or very little social, intellectual, emotional, or physical interactions. Social isolation for seniors has an equivalent negative impact to them smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and furthermore, it increases their chance of suffering from dementia by 64%. Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, the level of social isolation in senior living communities was as high as 54%, even with group wellness programming. With the current lockdowns, the number of seniors suffering from social isolation is going to exponentially increase, directly impacting the health of our senior population, thus resulting in an increased need from the province’s and country's strained healthcare system.

On top of this, the front line workers caring for the parents and grandparents of our nation are overwhelmed trying to keep track of interactions with their residents, their needs, and also having to manage families who can’t visit their loved ones. To further aggravate the social isolation problem, at the moment families are completely in the dark, worried and getting frustrated because they cannot interact with their loved ones, and there is very little transparency and communication between them and staff.

Welbi has developed a platform for senior living communities to help them offer personalized wellness programs to older adults. It is set to be scaled in 500 residences this year, and have large clients such as Revera, the largest retirement home group in Canada. Already, Welbi is saving staff over 25 hours of administrative work per month, which allows them to offer personalized experience to their residents, keep track of their wellness, and be proactive whenever a risk/change is detected in the residents habits. Furthermore, it enables staff members to communicate with families easily so they are kept up to date with regards to the wellbeing of their loved one.

As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, in the last few weeks, Welbi has been putting all its efforts towards adapting its platform to the current situation. As a society, we need to be proactive and be able to support our senior population who are under lockdown and isolated in their room, and the front line staff responsible for their care who have no bandwidth or resources to meet the needs of their residents.

We have developed a solution that:

Allows the senior living communities to personalize the wellness programs and interactions with each resident. Personalizing each resident’s experience will allow them to maintain the wellness of the residents even while they’re isolated in their room. Welbi will also support them with engagement suggestions.

Helps the staff keep track of any interactions to ensure everyone is engaged. With hundreds of residents, and being overwhelmed and under staffed, it gets extremely hard to keep track of which resident has been seen, and who not. Welbi will send reminders to the staff about residents who have not been seen for a while, to ensure everyone gets some human contact - which is essential into reducing social isolation.

Evaluates the residents’ level of social isolation. Welbi also has a very quick social isolation evaluation tool that will allow the homes to identify the level of isolation of each resident and identify the residents needing more engagement to limit the impact on their health.

Detects changes in their health and wellness. With its machine learning, Welbi will detect changes in the wellness of the residents over time. This will allow the home to be proactive and take actions before it gets worse.

One place of communication for everything related to the wellness and engagement of the residents. All the staff have access to the log of notes and engagement notes taken so they can ensure to battle social isolation as a team.

Shares with the family any updates. Welbi automatically generates updates to be sent to the families. Keeping them in the loop, while not being allowed to come to the residence to visit their loved ones, will give peace of mind to the families and relieve the staff tremendously - so they can focus on the residents’ health.

Video call booking system, that allows the staff of the residences to book video time between the families and the residents. Most of the residents living in senior living communities don’t own any tech devices. With Welbi, the families can now book times to chat over video with their loved ones, without any additional work needed from the staff.

When asked, more than 87% of the wellness teams in the senior living industry have mentioned running out of ideas for their 1on1s interactions. 91% mentioned being overwhelmed and not being able to correctly keep track of their interactions with the residents. 93% said it was close to impossible to detect changes in the wellness of their residents over time, especially while managing this crisis.

In the event that a COVID-19 case is discovered in a residence, keeping track of interactions done with a resident through Welbi will also allow the residences to retrace any contact there could have been and be proactive.

With Welbi in the senior living facilities of Ontario, the province can ensure that the social isolation rate doesn’t increase, that the health of our seniors is taken care of, and that the health care system is not further strained with other healthcare concerns than COVID-19. This will also limit the amount of visits from the seniors population into medical centres or hospitals, where it represents a threat to their health. By keeping a low level of health problems within their homes, the staff of the residence will be able to provide the right care, without having to require additional nurses or doctors - who are already overwhelmed to support the rest of the health system.

With the Government’s support, Welbi is ready to offer its platform for free to all seniors living in Ontario for the next 6 months to help manage and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the health of our seniors and unclog the health system.

Within 15 minutes, the senior living facilities can be ready to use Welbi. Welbi will be in charge of the staff training and support to ensure full adoption.

The only potential risk that Welbi foresees is the time it will take for the contractual agreement with the Government. This is an emergency, we need to move as fast as possible, to prevent any social isolation and impact on the health of the seniors. Right now, we are already seeing the impact, and it will only grow exponentially.
Impact on Seniors
With Welbi, senior living communities will be able to reduce social isolation, which will have a direct impact on the health of the seniors. The seniors will be engaged, through a personalized plan, and will feel secure knowing the staff has time to take care of them and ensure their wellbeing. The staff will be able to detect any changes quickly through evaluations, take action on time and ensure the health of the resident. This will reduce the amount of visits needed at medical centres and hospitals, therefore, keeping them safe, away from COVID-19 locations.

Impact on Families:
Families were already worried prior to the COVID-19 situation as they had small to zero visibility into the health of their loved one. With the visitors ban, now the families are completely in the dark and more worried than ever. They are continuously reaching out to the staff who are already overwhelmed. With Welbi, the families will be kept up to date with everything happening with their loved ones. They will feel secure, informed, and will relieve the staff. They will also be able to book video time with their loved one and be able to communicate and see them very easily without additional work needed from the staff.

Impact on Staff of Senior Living Communities:
The staff are currently overwhelmed, don’t have access to any tools to support them in the new tasks that the pandemic created, are drowned by family members’ requests and have very limited ideas of activities to do with the residents. With Welbi, not only will they be able to keep track of every interaction and important information about a resident, they will also be able to have the support to identify changes in the wellness of the residents, fill out quick evaluations to identify social isolation, receive one-on-one ideas and include the families in the whole process. Welbi will automate most of their administrative work, allowing them to spend time with the residents, impacting their health positively.

Impact Health professionals Health Care System:
Welbi will enable these front line workers to have a proactive approach to preventing and addressing social isolation in their communities, which in turn will assure that the health of their residents does not deteriorate. Welbi will contribute to reducing the amount of visits from seniors into the medical centres and hospitals, reducing health risk for the most vulnerable population to get COVID-19 and reducing the impact on an already saturated health system.

This will also impact our company, our employees and all the new people that will be added to our team in order to deliver on this contract. Welbi currently has 9 employees and 2 contractors. With this project, we will add a minimum of 5 more team members to ensure we can support our users and continuously improve our platform. This project would help employ a minimum of 16 people.

Do you have any final reflections or comments?