During the pandemic, senior residences have enhanced their security plans to better protect their residents and staff from new threats. Implementing technological solutions is one of the most effective ways for communities of older adults to improve their safety. With the right tools and resources, senior living administrators can improve their facilities’ communication, resident engagement, quality of care, and more.
As the omicron BA.2 subvariant spreads across the United States, it’s important that communities of seniors continue to innovate and embrace how their technology can help protect and improve their community. .
One of the most useful tools that many senior communities have adopted throughout the pandemic is bedroom portals. Such a portal is a great way to keep residents engaged and informed, even when the facility is operating under different circumstances, such as quarantine or with visitation restrictions.
Residents can access a variety of services, including meal ordering, event registrations, daily check-in, email, video calls and more. These services put power directly in the hands of residents and encourage them to get involved both inside and outside their community.
The in-room portal is also ideal for disseminating information to residents, which has been a high priority during the pandemic. Whether staff members want to share a COVID safety reminder, let residents know about a new protocol, or give any other update, they can do it quickly with a message sent directly to each resident’s room portal.
Seniors’ communities have also implemented technologies that can help directly address concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Thermal imaging and visitor kiosks can help monitor who enters the building each day, to help screen visitors and give information to help with contact tracing. For example, when visitors enter the building, they might be required to register their names and contact details as well as complete a health questionnaire before they can meet residents. This can help senior communities keep residents safe and obtain contact information to notify visitors or residents of potential COVID exposures if an infection is identified.
Another tool that has helped many senior communities throughout the pandemic is an automated alert platform. Using an automated alerting platform, senior living administrators were able to connect all of their disparate technology systems. When all of these technologies are on one platform, they can work together.
For example, if a facility has mobile duress buttons, door access control, visitor management, or cameras, among other systems, they can be integrated with the automated alert platform. so that if any of these technologies are triggered, an alert will be sent to the right people from one source. This alerting capability helps to improve the workflow of staff members because rather than monitoring all these different systems from various devices or outlets, they can receive all alerts from their systems in one place. It also allows staff members to help residents much faster by minimizing response times and freeing up staff members to spend more time caring for residents. During the pandemic, this capacity has been especially important, as many communities have experienced staffing shortages and lack the employees or time to devote to unnecessary work.
Elderly communities have made many technological advancements during the pandemic that have already helped them prepare for the potential challenges that the latest variant of coronavirus may present. As long as senior living administrators continue to leverage their existing technology and implement solutions to stay current, they will be able to navigate the pandemic as it continues to evolve.
Danielle Myers is Managing Director at Status Solutions.
The opinions expressed in each McKnight Senior Residence market column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight Senior Residence.
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