For a long time, senior housing communities have relied on traditional nurse call systems because these generally represented the best technology available. Now, that technology has been superseded. Just as with smartphones, Internet-enabled televisions, and even smart toasters, a better way of doing things has come along.
Finding themselves in need of urgent-alert notification systems, senior housing operators for many years have turned to buttons and pull cords as an effective, if rudimentary, solution. Although workable to some extent, these systems have routinely fallen short in a number of key areas:
Timeliness: When a resident taps a button or tugs a pull cord, a caregiver may or may not see that alert and may or may not be in a position to respond. The senior remains in distress for as long as it takes for someone to initiate a response.
Capability: Not every senior has the manual dexterity required to activate a call system, either before or during a crisis event.
Independence: Wearable alerts in particular degrade dignity and diminish a senior’s sense of independence.
Productivity: Tasked with responding on the fly to crises as they emerge, properly and effectively allocating staff time becomes a challenge for operators.
Today, there’s an alternative available that is smarter, more efficient and ultimately more effective than a traditional nurse call system.* Known as passive health monitoring, this system of interlocking technologies provides more timely response to crises, helps ensure seniors’ dignity and sense of independence, and allows operators to more effectively manage staffing—one of the biggest cost centers in any housing operation.
Practically everyone engaged in the senior care enterprise, including residents, staff, family, and operators benefit from passive health monitoring.
• From the resident’s point of view, there is a heightened sense of independence and dignity, without sacrificing their health and safety. There’s no question as to whether one will be able to push the button in a crisis because there is no button to push. Meanwhile, residents will experience fewer intrusions into their personal space for check-ins and other wellbeing assessments as the staff can rely on the solution for routine monitoring.
• For the staff, continuous monitoring relieves some of the pressure on any given shift, ensuring an alert will sound if needed, even without constant oversight—thus freeing caregivers to allocate their time more effectively.
• Families get peace of mind, as well as the certainty of more open and constant communications. Under the old way of doing things, a staff member might not think to notify family of a negative health event. Passive systems can be set to automatically notify loved ones should an event occur, so that families can relax knowing any news that needs to reach them will do so.
• Operators see advantages across the board. More productive and happier staff, healthier and happier residents—all leading to less turnover and higher occupancies, as we shall see in the coming sections.
Have you considered implementing a passive remote monitoring system at your senior living community? Let us know your thoughts.