The need for securing assisted living communities has never been greater. There are currently more than one million Americans living in more than 30,000 facilities across the U.S. While most residents cite medical assistance and regular meals as their main reason for moving to these communities, senior citizens also highly value their security.
The level of security will change as people move from a community’s independent living to skilled nursing and memory care sections. While most senior citizens are more familiar with mechanical locks and keys, electronic access control systems are a better choice for most assisted living communities. There’s no reason to contact a locksmith every time a plastic access card is lost. It can be replaced in seconds and at a minimal cost. Cards, unlike keypads, don’t require the memorization of a passcode. Also, proximity cards can be used for point of sale transactions at community spas, hair salons, dining room and gift shops. Contrary to popular belief, senior citizens are embracing smart technology as it takes hold in retirement communities.
Access control is vital in memory care units, where residents suffering from dementia may wander if given a chance. Doors in and out of these sectors are kept locked. Staff and regular visitors are provided with a personal identification number they enter into a keypad to enter and exit the area. Residents wear Bluetooth pendants or bracelets that communicate with door-mounted readers. If the pendant (and resident) pass through the door, the system initiates an alarm at the nurses’ station. Most states have laws preventing a facility from installing cameras in residential rooms.
Surveillance cameras are an important part of the overall security. They are typically mounted around the perimeter and in common areas such as lobbies, hallways, nurses’ stations and stairwells and elevators. Pharmacies, executive offices and medical records and equipment rooms are monitored and likely to also include intrusion sensors. Cameras also help resolve liability and theft claims, reduce workman’s compensation injuries and increase staff productivity.
As younger senior citizens move into assisted living communities, many ask for – and often receive approval – to install additional security and home automation systems in their private units.
Much of the equipment installed throughout the community has more than purely security functions. Departments such as maintenance, human resources, legal and the medical staff also benefit. By contributing from their departmental budgets, the community can often provide its residents with a more robust security system. Optimizing the facility’s physical environment can have a direct link to improved patient safety and outcomes, patient and staff satisfaction and financial performance of the organization.
With advanced design strategies, innovative hardware and careful authorization of personal access, your assisted living and nursing home customers can better control the access of its inhabitants in and around the building as well as protect assets. For more information on securing an assisted living community, contact your nearest Security 101 office.