By Susan Saldibar
Back in the day, the only safety alerts you’d find in senior care were pull cords and fire alarms. If anything else happened, you had to hope someone either saw or heard you. How things have changed. For example:
- When a resident in an assisted living community gets restless in the night and begins pacing back and forth, a set of strategically positioned sensors track the unusual movement, sending an alert to the mobile devices of the staff on duty so that they can knock just to make sure he is okay. Should he get out of bed and not get back in due to a fall or other issue, the bed sensors know it and will send an alarm after a certain period of time.
- When a resident wearing her shoes with GPS inserts doesn’t return from the local park, staff can pinpoint her location through the alert system “cloud”, which is integrated to the GPS “cloud” and bring her back safely.
- When a memory care resident walking on the outskirts of a community presses his alert button on his wearable pendant, even though he’s outside, call system receivers, powered by the solar pathway lighting activate a signal to the main alert system. There, it is instantly sent to the mobile devices of staff members.
- When someone attempts to break in or out of a resident’s window, sensors on the screen send an alert to that same mobile device used by staff.
- And, as it probably goes without saying, the logging and reporting of each of these events can be done using (you guessed it) that same mobile device.
Two points to be made here. First is that we now have some pretty cool uses of technology (especially sensors). Second, thanks to systems integration, is that everything can go to and from a single device (mobile at that!). And that single mobile device, in the examples above, belongs to Vigil Health Solutions (a Senior Living Foresight partner).
Innovation and Integration — Needed Now More Than Ever
I spoke recently with Jacquie Brennan, VP of Operations for Vigil, because I had noticed a new page on their website with a large array of integration partners. She, in fact, was the person who put the page up. I asked her why. “Really for two reasons,” she said. “First is for people to be aware of some of the creative sources that we integrate with. Secondly, people need to know that they can use their Vigil mobile devices to get alerts from all these systems used within their community.” So, no more dealing with multiple system panels, and carrying multiple devices.
There are three types of integrations that the Vigil system uses on a regular basis: hardware integration (in the case of the windows/screens and solar panels), software integration (in the case of wander and fire alarm systems), and cloud-to-cloud integration (in the case of their GPS partner solutions, such as SmartSole).
It’s Not Just Safe, It’s Marketing
“Community staff members are busy enough without having to waste their time going back and forth to check separate devices and inputting event data after an alert goes off,” Jacquie says. “Here is a device you’re already using when a resident presses an alert button. Why not be able to use it for all alerts?”
It’s great to see systems integration happening in senior living. Frankly, this is the kind of thing I’d not only use in my community, but I’d show it off to new employees and to families of residents. I’d say something like “Each of our staff members has a mobile dashboard connected to all the great safety technologies throughout the building and even outside.”
As an adult child of an older adult, that’s something I’d like to hear.
For more information about Vigil Health Solutions, please visit their website.