How Aged Care Facilities Can Safely Welcome Visitors
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced aged care facilities to modify or even stop tours for the safety of their staff, residents and visitors. As these facilities begin to welcome visitors again, they face multiple challenges. Facilities must not only provide building security, collect visitor information, monitor visitor access, etc., but must also meet COVID-19 screening and tracking requirements. Technology can help them achieve all of these goals.
Common challenges in welcoming visitors
Prior to the pandemic, senior care facilities faced many of the challenges of accommodating visitors that still exist today. Bob Gatta, CEO of Data Display Systems, explains that controlling all access points to a facility is an important but complicated priority. Without this control, facilities are unable to fully control who enters the building and when. Restricting not only visitor but also resident or even staff access to different areas of the building can also be a challenge, unless a facility uses a badge system.
Additionally, facilities should track visitor entrances, where those visitors travel through the facility, and who the visitors see. Facilities must also collect visitor contact information. These items represent a lot of work for receptionists, especially during busy visiting periods. Manually kept records are error prone and not ideal for an audit.
But the pandemic has added an extra layer of complexity. Now, facilities must screen visitors, staff, contractors and anyone else entering the buildings. Screenings often include temperature checks or certain questions, and facilities must be able to prove that their screenings comply with local and national requirements. This gets more complicated for companies with facilities in multiple states, each with their own compliance rules. Facilities should also track visitor access throughout the building, and if COVID-19 is later diagnosed, they should have detailed records for contact tracing.
Strategies for welcoming visitors safely
Gatta explains that most visitor access tracking used to be done manually, but the adoption of technology is making access tracking and tracking COVID-19 easier and more efficient. When facilities use a visitor management system, they create data on exactly when and where visitors accessed the buildings.
“If my facility needs to be audited, I want to be able to give them the established policies that we followed, along with that documentation,” says Gatta. “Someone can look at electronic data from six months ago, rather than sorting through manual logs.” Laurie Lefever, Senior Brand Manager at PDC, adds that when a property uses the right technology, it can establish audit trails for COVID-19, infectious diseases, contact tracing, and more.
The technology is also used to streamline the visitor check-in process. Not only does a digital check-in eliminate another point of contact where illnesses could spread through contact surfaces like pens, counters, and clipboards, but it’s a much faster process that doesn’t require supervision. dedicated to a receptionist. This advantage is especially important given the staffing challenges the senior care industry is currently facing. These types of technologies can help reduce the workload of current staff while allowing for a streamlined check-in process, even during peak hours.
One of these systems is PremiSys Access Control by PDC, an integrated security platform that combines access control with other security components such as video management, photo identification, biometrics and wireless locks. PremiSys is a single platform that allows facilities to manage access control for perimeter doors, shared spaces and resident doors. PremiSys integrates with Data Display Systems’ LobbyTECH, and together the systems give senior care facilities precise control over not only visitors, but also staff and resident access to buildings.
Lefever explains that access control systems generally allow access based on defined data that is programmed into the system. For example, a member of staff can be authorized to use their access card for a predetermined period of time, at certain doors and on certain days. “With this technology integration, you have an extra layer of protection,” she says. “LobbyTECH performs screening, vaccination questions and temperature analysis.” The employee must pass the screening before PremiSys activates his normal access rights. If they do not pass the check, the door of the establishment will not unlock. The result is a much more in-depth and customizable experience that helps determine who can safely enter the building.
And if a visitor has an abnormally high or low temperature or if their answer to a screening question triggers an alert, the staff member monitoring the system receives specific information about why that alert was triggered. Gatta explains that with this information, the staff member can approach the visitor in a non-confrontational manner to obtain additional information and calmly resolve the issue.
The system’s ability to verify vaccination status includes the ability to track vaccinations by brand, policy, and state. It can alert visitors and staff that they will need to receive a reminder within a month to stay compliant with facility policies. “It takes the burden off the facility administrator,” says Gatta.
Access control systems also add an extra layer of security to memory care units, notes Lefever. With PremiSys, facilities often use a card reader and keypad combination. “Employees use their badge in the card reader where they enter and exit, and family members use a keypad to enter,” she says. “This not only secures the area and restricts access to authorized individuals, but it also frees up staff who would otherwise have to be available to allow access for family members.”
The use of technology also means that a facility is better prepared in the event of an emergency. Derrick Bellanca, manager of technology services at PDC, notes that in the event of an emergency like a fire, tornado or hurricane, staff can use the system to determine exactly who is in the building and who is outside. outside. Automatic alerts for fires, floods, intruders and emergencies mean staff can push a button, and details of what to do and where to meet during an evacuation are sent to staff via text message , email or SMS in an email.
The Benefits of Using Technology for Tours
Investing in technologies such as PremiSys and LobbyTECH offers the practical benefits of better contact tracing and audit trails, while streamlining processes for staff. But it also offers a benefit that can be even more valuable: trust.
Jeff Porter, CTO of Data Display, explains that the system provides consistency when it comes to screening building entries and securing the building. “People want to know they are being treated fairly when it comes to safety,” he explains. “With this system, all employees and visitors follow the same guidelines. This reassures you that policies are in place. With technology like this, residents, staff and visitors all know the facility is protecting them.
To learn more about PremiSys and LobbyTECH, contact PDC at 855-367-4721 or request additional information online.