In Canada, 79% of the country’s deaths due to COVID-19 were linked to outbreaks in long-term care facilities (LTC). While, interestingly, a care center in the Quebec region of Canada has had 100% success in eliminating the virus. They were able to do this by completely shutting down visitor access and stationing employees with permanent living spaces in the facility. “The strategy seems to be working at the facility as well. While more than 7,000 seniors have died from COVID-19 in Quebec long-term care homes since the start of the pandemic, Manoir Stanstead has yet to have a single case.” This may be perceived as an extreme measure that many will hesitate to replicate, as it commits employees to separate from friends and loved ones. But the point to highlight is that a well-executed visitor control protocol can effectively reduce or eliminate the potential for viral contamination. 

Modern access control solutions with built-in visitor management functionalities can replicate the same results effectively, without the unnecessary burden on LTC staff and without permanently sealing patients off from their loved ones. Effective visitor management is evidently an important first step to flattening the curve in long term care centers, so how can we do this without the heavy burdens on staff? 

What is a visitor management system and how can it help?

Put simply, a visitor management system keeps track of short-term guests at your building. While the sign-in sheet is a valid form of visitor management, it does not do anything to reduce the potential health risks from visitor traffic. The best visitor management systems are virtual, easy to use, easy to manage and keep a detailed, easy to track log of your visitors. For these reasons, using a digital system is superior for advanced visitor management.

Knowing who is at your property and when is vital to supporting a sanitary and virus free facility for patients, and access control systems are essential tools for controlling, tracking, and monitoring who’s coming and going through your building. You may already use access control for staff and employees, but you should be using smart access control for your visitor security as well. Smart access control systems can effectively solve the core problem facing long term care centers as a result of the health crisis, which is, allowing external sources of contagions to enter facilities through poor visitor control.

Benefits of visitor management software

Digital visitor management software and apps can streamline operations. Visitors can check-in, add information, submit covid screenings, sign waivers, and even access the building, right from the app on their phone before being permitted to set foot on the property. No communal check-in booths, sign-in sheets, or shared pens required. 

How access control strengthens security

Many facilities use a shared guest credential, such as a keycard or badge, for visitors. But keycards are not always the most secure, and it’s difficult to customize permissions for each visitor. Visitors often forget to return keycards before leaving, which also leaves your building open to security risks. An access control system that uses mobile credentials provides more security and a better user experience. 

Welcoming visitors to your building is seamless with the Zerv access control app. Admins can send secure digital guest passes through text. The mobile credentials are also customizable for better security, such as setting visitor credentials to expire at specific times. You can also add permissions for specific entries so that visitors only have access to specific areas and nowhere else. 

Mobile visitor credentials will ease the administrative workload. You no longer need to keep visitor badges on hand, or seek out a visitor who forgot to return their keycard. If the phone is lost or stolen, access can immediately be updated. Zerv operates on cloud-based software, which enables remote mobile access control from anywhere. This means you can unlock a door for a visitor without even having to be on-site. Moreover, real-time access alerts keep you updated of any doors left open or unauthorized entries so you can immediately respond to security risks. 

Visitor management technology for COVID-19

To protect visitors and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, include new safety measures at check-in. For example, add a health questionnaire to your digital guest registration. Before visitors arrive at your building, they can use the visitor app to fill out health waivers and screening questions. If integrated with your access control system, the visitor credentials will only activate after they’ve completed the screening and are approved to come onsite based on your set criteria. This touchless visitor management system ensures guests are symptom free. Plus it gives your guests peace of mind that everyone else is healthy, too. 

Once visitors arrive, touchless access control gives them a safe, hands-free entry experience. With the assigned digital credential, they can easily enter the building with their smartphone leaving no public keycard to be sanitized and no face-to-face interaction required. A touchless access experience helps your patients feel more confident in the safety and security of your building.

Knowing what’s happening at your building is more important than ever during COVID-19. Using access control and a visitor security system, you’ll get reliable reporting of visitor activity in your building. Access alerts notify you of potential security threats, so you can issue a quick response, keeping your patients safe. 

Capacity monitoring features allow you to monitor occupancy and optimize your space for social distancing. In the event you need to temporarily close your building to reduce capacity, your visitor management system can help. Capacity monitoring features keep you updated on area capacity and with the push of a button the entire facility can be locked down. Easily send out communications to upcoming visitors to reschedule or cancel their appointments. A detailed log of who’s been at your property can also help with contact tracing efforts in case of an outbreak. Contact tracing functionality allows you to easily disseminate alerts of potential contact with infected individuals. 

Getting More Affordable

While traditional locks are inexpensive, they ultimately put you at a greater risk. Fortunately, smart locks are now accessible. Zerv’s technology enables smart mobile access on any of your existing access points, without requiring costly hardware upgrades. Zervers can re-equip your outdated readers to securely communicate with mobile phones and smart devices offering a cost-effective path to improved access control and visitor management.

Need help planning your visitor management protocols? Connect with our team directly at contact@zervinc.com and we’ll work with your team to create a project plan that fits your facility’s needs.