Slow response times can give a senior living community a bad reputation, but fast response times can be worn as a badge of honor!

By Susan Saldibar

The time it takes a nurse or other staff member to respond to a resident needing help is important to everyone; the person in need, the staff and the families of residents. Slow response times can give a senior living community a bad reputation that can be hard to shake. But fast response times can be worn as a badge of honor as well as become a strong competitive advantage.

Many senior living communities are now using a combination of smart sensors and alert technology to help them respond more quickly to alerts and, in some cases, even anticipate an incident before it happens. Vigil Health Solutions, a Senior Housing Forum partner and leader in alert and sensor technology, has recently added a mobile app component that allows remote personnel to be alerted as well.

Troy Griffiths, CEO of Vigil Health Solutions, shared with us how operators of senior living communities are using this technology, not only to reduce response times, but also as a strategic differentiator in a very competitive marketplace.

How to reduce call response times? Awareness and accountability.

“It was our clients who really led us to develop the mobile app,” says Troy. “They loved our sensors and call technology, and wanted a way for managers and other staff members to remain connected to their communities, even when they are not physically in the building,” he adds.

The addition of a mobile component is important, Troy points out, for two reasons:

  1. Awareness. It enables those who may be at lunch or at an off-premises meeting to stay in the loop. A quick check of an iPhone or Android will give them a “snapshot” of current calls: how many alert calls took place over the last 24 hours and how fast the response time was. While they may not be officially ‘on duty’, they are still able to check in anytime at their convenience. They can also have their smart phone set to receive alerts in real time.

  2. Accountability. Knowing that a supervisor or senior director is able to stay connected remotely keeps everyone engaged in what matters: timely care for residents. More importantly, it serves as a constant reminder of how important their work is to the community.

But how does a mobile app help increase occupancy levels?

“Being able to give families the assurance that you have technology in place to detect and respond quickly to an incident can be a game changer for the families of prospective residents,” says Troy. “Add to that a mobile capability that keeps everyone connected, wherever they are, and you can see how it can very effectively position one community over another,” he adds.

But your prospects need to know that you have this technology in place. Here is what Troy recommends:

  1. Share how your system of sensors and alerts are used and where they are placed for maximum effectiveness while remaining discrete.

  2. Demonstrate how your mobile app works to keep remote managers in the loop.

  3. Finally, make it a point to explain how the app helps keep everyone in the community operating at top levels, even when key staff is not present.

While no one likes to think of their loved one in an emergency situation, they do want to know how quickly the community staff will respond should something happen. Being able to demonstrate your commitment to security through a strong program backed up with leading-edge technology will help raise your community above the others. Faster call response times, supported by advanced technology makes a strong competitive statement. And, it helps increase the odds that it will be your beds that get filled first.