How to do it... Resident security.

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Any transition to a new security system depends heavily on first appropriately choosing one that best fits the needs of your resident population. 

“Technology should be tailored to your community's operations first and foremost, and the operations should only need to be tweaked to work with the technology,” says Wes Columbia, studio lead for Direct Supply Aptura. “It's a lot easier to set up a system in a different way than it is to re-program your employees.”

2 A pre-installation checklist and facility maintenance plan during the transition will mitigate glitches and other issues. This ensures that shelf-stock parts, batteries, tech-support contact information, and emergency recovery procedures are all in place with maintenance or environmental services staff, Columbia adds.

3 Minimize traffic, obstructions and excessive noise while your new system is being installed. Warn your residents ahead of time to expect activity and insist your vendor pre-program and pre-configure as much of the system offsite as possible, advises Shragie Aranoff, COO and executive vice president of PointRF. 

Ensure the company “respects the space of the residents and shows courtesies,” adds Avidon Moscovitz, director of professional services for PointRF.

And do a dry run before going “live” with your new system to set staff security permissions and work out any potential bugs, says Uri Wanderman, project manager, New Product Introduction, at PointRF.

4 Successful transitions are virtually impossible unless facility administrators are fully engaged from beginning to end, believes Maayan Wenderow, the director of marketing at EarlySense Inc.

“Implementation of a new system is the hardest challenge,” she says. “If administration is there all the way — through evaluation, selection and implementation — and is setting goals for the team and explaining the rationale, there's a much greater chance of success.” 

Top management also should continuously measure system success by examining baseline data and response time.

5 Successful security system transitions also engage managers because they understand staff limitations and strengths, as well as residents' unique needs. 

“Administrators may be most concerned about adverse events a system would solve but not consider issues that could affect workflow,” Wenderow observes. “That's why it's important to involve managers in decisions.”

6 Ensure staff compliance during the transition by explaining system features ahead of time. This could mitigate issues like “alarm fatigue” down the road.

“If you have structure with staff roles and responsibilities using the technology, you greatly increase your success using it,” says Aranoff. You also must allocate the necessary time to train every employee — before your new security system goes live. 

Administrators also need to expect and prepare for a learning curve. 

“With most of these systems, the real learning occurs within the first 90 days,” notes Columbia.

7 Finally, accept the fact that your most reliable and intelligent security system are your staff's eyes and ears, advises Debi Damas, RN, senior product manager, Senior Care, for Relias Learning.

“While technology is a fantastic means for resident monitoring, there's no substitute for old-fashioned physical monitoring,” says Damas. 

Adds Mike MacLeod, president of Status Solutions: “If you can read, hear and see what's happening in and around your community, you can do something about it. Then you can analyze response times and protocols to identify problems and improve overall care.” 


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