By MaryLee Herrmann

While I was freaking out about not being able to get my hands on toilet paper at the onset of the pandemic, senior living communities were contending with trying to keep COVID-19 outside their doors, all while trying to keep up with constantly changing government protocol.

And Accushield (a Foresight partner) was busy saving lives of the residents and staff in those communities. They took their sign-in kiosk and enhanced it, developing features like instant temperature scanning, a health screening questionnaire, and vaccine/test tracking and reporting. 

I’m trying to write a joke about hurricanes … but at the moment it is just a draft.

What originally was a convenient way to sign in and keep track of visitors and the residents themselves, was now a life-saving device. Ultimately, Accushield’s kiosk provided assurance in these remarkable times. Guests were on a roller-coaster ride of when they could and could not visit due to health mandates; however, at least they could be at ease knowing their loved one was safe and secure inside the community. And communities were thankful they could provide assurance to concerned family members. 

A hurricane just blew the roof off the local cheese factory. … De Brie is everywhere.

Dr. Carol McKinley, president and CEO of Simpson Senior Services, is one of those grateful care providers. However, she hasn’t always had the Accushield system to depend on. At a recent event, she shared this harrowing experience.

In one of my journeys, I worked in hurricane country [United Methodist Homes in New Jersey, COO], and I had several communities that we had to evacuate during Hurricane Irene. During Hurricane Irene, I did not have Accushield, and we actually evacuated over 500 residents, and we had to do that all through paper. So a lot of lists, a lot of checking those lists of who’s in the communities. Have they exited the communities? Are they on the buses?

I can’t imagine the logistics involved to evacuate that many people! And on top of that, having to shuffle through all the paperwork over and over, trying to provide answers for worried family members calling from all over the country? During a hurricane?!?

I went into the kitchen and saw a hurricane making a pot of tea. I thought, hmmm … there’s a storm brewing. 

Then imagine this: needing to evacuate everyone all over again one year later. That’s exactly what Carol and her team had to do when Hurricane Sandy struck. This time, however, they had a not-so-secret weapon that made the situation a little less turbulent and more manageable. 

What do you get if you cross a card game with a hurricane? Bridge over troubled water.

For security measures and convenience, the folks at United Methodist had brought in the Accushield kiosk to replace the antiquated method of signing in and out, which, as you know, involves hand-signing on sheets of paper in register books, and having to store all the books “in case” there is ever a question as to a visitor or a resident (and that’s always fun and time-consuming, going through all the paperwork by hand).

But in addition to those benefits, when dealing with Hurricane Sandy, they realized this time they had a much easier way to be assured they were able to keep track of the residents in their care. A way that was far more efficient in an emergency situation, allowing them to focus on the comfort of the residents and their families. 

As Carol explains:

The difference between Irene and Sandy was major. Instead of dealing with all the paperwork, we now have the Accushield reports (Accushield Evacuation Management) that we can look at to identify, more efficiently, more accurately, more quickly, and in a very tumultuous time, who’s in our communities or where they have evacuated to. We can look at those reports and talk with families. “Your mother has exited this building, and she has been identified in this building.” So it was a much easier process.

No Laughing Matter

According to the National Hurricane Center, a “hurricane” is the most severe category of the meteorological phenomenon known as the “tropical cyclone.”

Hurricanes are no laughing matter. You might be thinking you aren’t on a coastline, and therefore, evacuating for hurricanes isn’t on your list of concerns.

What about evacuating for a wildfire? Flooding? Zombie apocalypse? Hey, anything is possible. I never thought I’d practically be driven to buy toilet paper off the back of a truck.

Seriously, though, want to know what disasters are most likely in your area? Enter your location on the FEMA site. It’s best to be ready for anything, and that’s the approach Accushield takes as they continue to strive to create systems to enhance the quality of life for seniors.

As Carol said, “I’m looking forward to the additional opportunities of what they [Accushield] bring to our industry, because what I know about them is that they are focused on senior living. They are focused on health care, and that’s what we need to ensure that we can continue to provide quality care and services, not only to our residents but our families, our co-workers, our staff, our partners. Now and well into the future.”

Take a moment to set up a 15-minute demo with Accushield to see how you can help your community now, and to be ready for the unforeseeable future.