Real Time Location Technology (RTLS) is Enhancing Staff Safety Resident Experience in Senior Care Facilities

December 8, 2021

Much like their counterparts in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, nurses in senior living residencies can face a variety of dangers and physical threats arising from the nature of the job or the physical layout of the building. Residents can be combative or aggressive for a number of reasons related to their mental state, resulting in physical confrontations. Being alone and isolated in a distant wing or otherwise away from other staff can deprive nurses of immediate support in crisis situations. These are the types of dangers that result in statistics that show that unacceptable numbers of nurses are physically assaulted while on the job or experience highly elevated levels of stress due to the worry of being assaulted. 

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While senior living facilities may have dedicated security teams to help avoid and intervene in these situations, they cannot be in all places at all times, particularly in larger facilities. Also, these incidents can escalate very quickly, often with no warning, making it difficult to notify anyone in a position to help. 

With the continuing growth of the role of nurses in an aging society, workplace violence involving healthcare professionals is drawing more attention than ever before. Fortunately, the need for solutions is being met by location tracking technology that not only provides visibility into staff locations throughout a senior facility, but enables them to quickly, easily and discreetly call for immediate support. 

Helping nursing staff to deal with various forms of duress has become mission-critical in the senior care sector. Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) are ideal solutions that provide support for nursing staff while also making it possible to provide a better overall experience for residents and achieve efficiency in the operation of the facility. 

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What is RTLS? 

RTLS is a wireless location-tracking technology based on the use of the familiar Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communications standard. It uses gateways and sensors to follow the location of BLE-enabled tags and badges that are part of the network. 

The tags can be affixed to items, like equipment and other mobile supplies, while the badges can be easily carried in the same way that ID cards are carried on lanyards. This opens up enormous possibilities for the tracking, locating and monitoring of the activity of people and things. Real Time Location System deployments do exactly what the name says, they let you see where tracked things and people are right now. They have any number of obvious business applications in any sector you care to name and form the basis of a long list of business-critical operations.

Real-Time Location Systems enable businesses to understand and utilize their assets efficiently. They make daily operations more transparent and aid in the process of optimization. With the new Bluetooth 5.1 standard, Bluetooth offers completely new capabilities for people and asset tracking at a fraction of the cost of other standards. It benefits from a large existing ecosystem of over 8.2 billion Bluetooth devices worldwide, making it the most widely adopted standard for short range wireless communication.

The benefits of RTLS in a senior care facility

RTLS infrastructures enable a number of benefits from day one, supporting everything from staff safety, patient experience and overall operational efficiency. 

  • Help for staff in confrontations with residents. When under duress, staff can press a button on the badge they carry which will send an alert to a designated recipient along with the precise location of the nurse or other team member in need. Help gets there faster and situations can be deescalated before further harm can occur. 
  • Nurses and other staff can call for help instead of looking for it. Senior care facilities can be quite large and dispersed areas. Even not counting confrontations with residents, there can be numerous potentially dangerous situations in which staff need help, from slip-and-falls to carrying heavy items and more. With the ability to call for assistance, nurses can wait for help to come to them instead of having to go look for it. 
  • Reduced time lost to injury / lowered Worker’s Compensation claims. It’s challenging enough to recruit, train and manage staff in a senior care facility under ideal circumstances. When time lost to workplace incidents is added to the mix, the costs can skyrocket. RTLS location systems can reduce time lost to injury and the legal / regulatory costs associated with it by making sure that everyone has the immediate backup they need at all times. 
  • Give family members peace of mind. Loved ones of facility residents who wear a BLE patient tag that can be used for identifying elopement can enjoy the confidence of knowing their family members are safe. Also, BLE-enabled fall detection systems that can quickly alert staff and environmental condition monitoring to make their stay comfortable add to sense to security.
  • Improved facility reputation. The safety of your staff is directly tied to the reputation of your institution. A senior care home with increased staff duress cases is likely to have a bad reputation, especially among healthcare workers, which makes it harder to attract the staff you need. Deploying RTLS technology ensures that workplace incidents are minimized as security staff and management teams get real-time information that can be used to mitigate staff duress cases.

Upgrade your staff’s peace of mind, reduce workplace incidents, improve resident care — all with RTLS

Empowering employees with real-time security responses creates an invaluable sense of security for employees, allowing them to better focus on resident care. RTLS helps to reduce duress cases by mitigating risks before they occur and allows nurses to call for help before problematic situations intensify to potentially dangerous levels. Contact our team today to see how Kontakt.io can help you increase safety in your senior living facility. 

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Aneta Ciurkot

Director, Product Marketing

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