Safety and security are two of the most common reasons companies cite for installing RFID-enabled systems. Few applications have such an acute, personal component to safety and security as nursing homes, healthcare, and long-term care facilities.
Many “industrial” applications of RFID tracking systems – personnel tracking, inventory management, parking lot and building access control, product delivery – become personal in residential health-care facilities.
RFID helps nursing homes and healthcare know where people are.
An aging population means more people will move into assisted living communities in the coming years. An important subcommunity with unique needs are memory-care facilities.
One of the greatest risks to people with Alzheimer’s or dementia is wandering off. Once a resident leaves the community’s property, they may board a public bus, walk the streets… any number of high-risk situations. The longer they are away from their home, the further they may get, increasing the danger and the amount of time and resources necessary to recover them.
Preventing memory-care residents from wandering off the property, and doing it in a respectful manner, is a high-priority for these facilities. UHF RFID bracelets or tags on each patient’s clothing can alert staff when a patient has left the building, when they are approaching the perimeter of the property and when they have crossed the property line. This gives facility staff multiple opportunities and detailed information to stop the resident from leaving and keep them safely at home. RFID systems can also help locate residents who may get lost on campus, perhaps having inadvertently entered a staff area or ended up in the wrong room on the wrong floor.
RFID can ensure proper medication dosage and delivery.
Simple mistakes are the root cause of many preventable malpractice incidents in the health care industry. Giving patients the wrong medicine, or the wrong dose, or the right dose at the wrong time can have serious consequences for everyone involved. RFID tagging can help ensure the right treatments are delivered at the right time to the right people, even in a large-scale setting like a nursing home or memory care community.
RFID tags are standard in warehouses and storerooms across all industries. They give the staff real-time looks at what is where, and when it comes time to pull a product from the shelf for shipment or delivery, RFID ensures that the right thing comes out of storage and makes its way to the right customer.
RFID tags on each container of medication can be linked to each resident’s personal RFID tag. Before a caregiver delivers a treatment, two quick scans can verify that the medicine matches the person. If anything is off – time, dose, patient or product – the staff member is immediately alerted and can prevent an incident.
Nursing home security and access control systems benefit from the use of RFID.
Just as nursing homes need to ensure their residents do not leave the facility without proper authorization and care, they need to ensure that no one enters the facility who shouldn’t be there.
RFID systems can secure access to staff parking lots and entrances. Each staff member can have a UHF tag in their car to facilitate movement in and out of a secure lot, along with a high-frequency or low-frequency ID tag to enter the building, access pharmaceuticals and move through staff-only areas.
When a resident moves in to the facility, their family members can be given RFID tags so they can visit easily and securely. An RFID parking tag smooths their way into a family or regular visitor lot and then cut down on their check-in time when they arrive at the front door. Doctors or caregivers can even set an alert to let them know the next time a family member visits a particular patient, in case she would like to talk face-to-face with the family member.
Like any other commercial facility, regular contractors and vendors could have their own RFID tags to enter loading and unloading areas. By issuing RFID tags at a very low cost to recurring and vetted visitors, they have an easier experience while additional access controls and security resources can be deployed to less known or unknown guests.
And, of course, through it all facility staff know exactly who is on premises and if they are only where they are supposed to be.
Nursing homes make a personal case for RFID systems.
Nursing homes, assisted living communities and healthcare facilities have unique challenges in managing the flow of people and the delivery of day-to-day care. RFID-enabled personnel, access and inventory tracking systems are an inexpensive and non-intrusive way to enhance the security, healthcare and residential experience in these facilities.
WW&L has developed RFID systems for universities, arenas, commercial properties, healthcare and residential facilities. Drop us a note or call us to talk through how RFID can make things better for your guests, clients or residents.