How Senior Care Facilities Can Best Implement and Use Resident Security Technology

Amy Jeffs, vice president, Status Solutions

Resident security is an ongoing concern in senior care environments, but thanks to advancements in resident security technology, facilities also have access to more tools than ever before. Investing in resident security is not only an investment in resident safety, but it can also help to build a family’s trust in a facility, potentially leading to more resident enrollments.

Understanding the Tools Available

A facility might benefit from some, a combination of, or all of the resident security technology available today. While specific tools and systems can vary in their features and operations, most center around certain types of devices and systems:

  • Video surveillance systems can assist with monitoring resident safety, but they offer the added bonus of protecting facilities from vandalism. Administrators can use these systems to ensure staff are following proper protocols and residents receive an appropriate quality of care.
  • Point of entry access control systems are essential for memory care units, allowing staff to monitor and restrict resident access through the rest of the facility. Credential tracking and permissions, including key cards and pin codes, add an extra level of security, and these can be implemented in both memory care units and in the building’s front and rear access doors to ensure overall building security.
  • Fire prevention and monitoring systems can be specialized to a facility’s needs, and can be designed to automatically alert staff and the local fire department to save valuable time.
  • Patient monitoring devices can take on many forms. Motion sensors can set off an alarm if a patient gets out of bed during the night. Wearable pendants and bracelets offer more detailed information, with some devices being able to track a resident’s location and travels. This can be particularly helpful for COVID-19 contract tracing.

While any of these tools can be useful when used independently, their effectiveness is enhanced when they’re operated within a comprehensive system that allows them all to work together. A single system that monitors, alerts, and reports can ensure staff receive appropriate alerts while avoiding alarm fatigue and the confusion of responding to multiple alarms.

With so many security tools to choose from, implementing or upgrading your facility’s security might seem overwhelming. To get the best results out of the process and your investment, it’s important to understand your facility’s vulnerabilities and how to best solve them.

Identifying Your Facility’s Security Needs

In many cases, you might be unaware of security issues that currently exist in your facility. Amy Jeffs, vice president of Status Solutions , explains that clients that the elements traditionally considered under the resident safety umbrella have significantly expanded. “Safety can be physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing,” she explains. “First and foremost, there’s a concern about individual resident health and welfare, but that also extends to the staff, and then that goes beyond the staff to the building, itself. We really craft our solutions around helping people understand what they don’t know.”

When facilities have some security systems in place, then any technology they add on will need to integrate with those systems. As an example, Status Solutions’ SARA (Situational Awareness and Response Assistant) is designed to do just that. Functioning as a core alerting engine, SARA lets people read, see, hear, and take action to correct what’s occurring, explains Jeffs.

Best Practices When Implementing or Upgrading Resident Security Technology

Before identifying specific technology solutions, Jeffs recommends that facilities identify the end results they want from technology. “I would recommend that any facility start with what outcome they want to achieve,” she says. “Don’t make it about the products, the what, and the how – It’s about the why. What is your brand, what is your brand promise to your constituents within your community? Once that’s been established, then go back and identify the things that you need to accomplish that.”

Jeffs notes that clients sometimes focus on the type of technology, its features, and its functions, rather than having the broad understanding that the technology is just one part of what they are trying to achieve. She suggests that facility administrators and staff should focus instead on the strategy of what outcome they’re trying to reach, and then working with a technology partner to try to reach that outcome.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to increased opportunity for facilities to rebuild and regroup from a PR perspective, explains Jeffs. “There are a lot of challenges right now,” she says. Jeffs notes that while resident security and staff alerts have always been a problem, those issues are currently exacerbated. With staff carrying heavier workloads because of the pandemic, automated security systems that can support staff are more important now than ever.

Topics: Facility management , Featured Articles , Information Technology , Operations , Resident Care , Technology & IT , Wearables