Cropped image of senior male patient's hands holding walker by female nurse in rehab center

Patient Health & Safety in Long Term Care Facilities

Despite their extensive knowledge of physical security, it’s easy for security professionals to fall into traps that can make a healthcare facility fall behind. Oftentimes, this means the lack of switching outdated technology, such as legacy access control units, to something more modern and capable of meeting the needs of advanced hospitals and healthcare facilities. 

Healthcare organizations struggle to secure the budget needed to replace legacy infrastructure. Cloud providers utilize the latest technology and replace technology proactively which also makes it easier to patch and maintain. The use of cloud also reduces capital expenditure requirements, freeing cash that may be used to further advance the digitalization of healthcare processes.

Regardless of whether a security system is being designed for a large assisted living facility or a small rural nursing home, a level of access control is required to assure that residents, employees, and visitors remain healthy and protected. 

Not only does the level of protection need to ensure security but it also must allow for acceptable freedom of movement amongst its staff and patients. The security of an assisted living or nursing home might also need to extend to protecting residents from themselves. Many of these facilities are home to individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. These residents require special attention and can benefit from systems to prevent elopement. 

Smart access technology may be able to establish peace of mind for residents and their families that any potential life-threatening position will be handled expediently, a great selling point for new prospects. If a patient slips or falls while using the washroom, for example, administrators and staff members can track their location and be notified if a patient has been in a place for an unusual amount of time and check in to ensure their safety. 

TouchPoint Reduction in Healthcare Restricted Access

To prevent the spread of viruses and diseases, a hospital access control solution should reduce the number of touchpoints in a facility. Touchpoints are points of access where a staff member must physically make contact with an object in order to get through, such as a handle, push bar, keypad, or similar security device. In a hospital environment, where the spread of germs is a major concern, touchpoints create a hazardous breeding ground for germs.

However, with the onset of new technologies, access control systems for hospitals no longer require many touchpoints, if any at all. For example, door readers which read and authenticate a credential from a distance remove the need for touching keys or keypads. Credentials could be presented through mobile smart devices which can be used for multiple access points and can be read without contact. Similarly, the doors can be programmed to open automatically upon verification of credentials, removing the touchpoints on the doors. With these features, access control systems can significantly diminish the chance of spreading germs.

Specialized Access Control for Memory Care

Although residents with memory limitations may be very capable physically, they could easily walk to another part of the building or perhaps out of an exit door if their section of the building is not properly secured. That’s why specialized access control is a must for assisted living and long-term care facilities that house residents or patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Restricting points of entry and exit to this wing make it easier for your staff to keep an eye on patients by controlling how they move throughout the facility. As part of your access control system, we recommend using credentials systems such as smart mobile systems to enter or exit memory care wings. That way, patients can only access certain parts of the facility with the help of a staff member.

Theft and Substance Abuse Reduction through Healthcare Access Control Systems

Hospital access control systems may also be used to track prescription drugs and equipment as they are moved from location to location within a care facility. Each pharmaceutical item and piece of healthcare equipment can be fitted with readers that are scanned through each access point. When a piece of equipment is needed in a hurry, the access control system has at least a rough estimate of its location so hospital staff can find it quickly.

Perimeter access control

While your memory care wing needs specialized security measures, the entire building should also take steps to keep residents and staff safe with controlled access points to enter and leave the building. This helps prevent a possible intrusion or entrance by someone who should not be on-site. Plus, this helps keep patients from exiting the building without staff or family present. Unlike other types of offices or facilities, long-term care facilities have a unique responsibility to prevent residents’ unauthorized exits. Whether residents try to leave because they’re disoriented, because they have some kind of mental impairment, or simply because they’re upset and need space, your residents can face serious risks if they leave the premises, and liabilities fall on the facility in these circumstances.

 

READY TO UPDATE YOUR FACILITY’S ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM?

Healthcare security systems shouldn’t be the same as they were a decade ago. Technology is advancing in leaps, and some healthcare facilities are behind the times, leaving patients, staff, and the hospital as a whole exposed to security risks and potential dangers.

Contact our team at Zerv for support in planning improved access health and safety measures in your facility | contact@zervinc.com