Considering interoperability can boost a facility’s bottom line.
By Danielle Myers, general manager, Status Solutions
Operating a senior living facility is a huge undertaking. The endeavor to improve residents’ quality of life, while also maintaining a work environment that keeps both staff and residents happy and safe each day, can be both stressful and costly. This burden can weigh down the whole community, which is why it’s important that senior living facility operators maximize all of their current investments.
The majority of senior living facilities utilize a variety of technology systems, such as mobile duress, wander management, access control, security cameras, bed monitors, phones, computers, and more. These are all helpful tools, but likely are not reaching their full potential because they work in silos. However, when these products become interoperable, they’re able to communicate and work with one another, creating a fully functioning solution that can holistically meet a facility’s needs.
With interoperability, you don’t have to replace your current technology systems. Instead, you maximize their abilities by tying them all to one platform. This unification helps to streamline communication, improve workflow and efficiencies, and uncomplicates the experience of working with various technology systems.
By giving your employees the tools they need to do their work productively you are able to take away a lot of unnecessary stress from the job. This is more important than ever, with senior living facilities experiencing turnover rates of approximately 70 percent each year.
Caregivers go into the senior living industry because they have a desire to help people, despite the difficult demands of the job. However, when their workplace is outdated, over-complicated, or disorganized, it becomes difficult to keep up with the workload, resulting in burnout. Not only is this difficult on the employees, but it places a high financial burden on the facility, as it’s estimated that replacing just one skilled employee can cost up to $2,500.
Instead of spending money and time replacing employees, senior living facility operators need to invest in the solutions that keep their current employees happy. With millennials expected to make up half of the U.S. workforce in the next two years, providing your employees with the right tools is a great investment for the future. According to Forbes, 93 percent of millennial workers say that a business having up-to-date technology is an important factor when choosing a workplace, and 42 percent of millennials would leave a company operating with ‘substandard technology.’
Heightening employee efficiency
Interoperability is less of a specific tool and more of a holistic capability for all of the tools your facility leverages in its system. It can open up so many possibilities to streamline the way you currently operate.
For example, many senior living facilities have an employee who monitors access to the building. Most often, this employee is required to remain by the front door since they have to visually identify whether an individual approaching the building should be granted access. Not only does this limit the employee’s productivity, because they cannot leave their post to do other work, but it can be a dangerous liability.
With interoperability, this job can become an easy task. When someone requests access to the building, an alert can be sent to a designated employee’s phone with live-video feed of the person at the door, allowing the employee to determine whether to grant them access from anywhere in the building with the simple press of a button. This process effectively improves the convenience, as well as the safety and productivity of your employee by leveraging alerting, live video feed and access point technology to operate together.
Reducing resident response time and liability
Not only does interoperability improve convenience, but it can help significantly reduce response times at your facility, which can potentially save lives.
For instance, when a resident activates their mobile duress device, an alert can be sent out to any employees you assign to receive that alert. When one of the employees accepts the alert, all of the other employees can be notified that someone is on their way to help the resident. That way, the other employees can continue to go about their own work. This provides your facility with situational awareness, eliminating wasted time caused by several employees addressing one resident issue.
An average senior living community often deals with multiple nurses or caregivers responding when a resident activates their mobile duress device. This isn’t just a waste of time — it can keep them from tending to other residents that need their help. There is also sometimes the event in which no one responds to a resident because the employees all think someone else already did.
When your systems are interoperable, whether it’s a mobile duress system, bed sensor or door sensor, you can ensure that your residents get help as quickly as possible. Not only does this improve your employees’ workload by cutting down on unnecessary confusion, but it also improves your residents’ care and quality of life.
Senior living facility operators also have the ability to improve their return on investment (ROI) by integrating and automating current systems and processes.
Consider a typical day at a senior living community where staff is managing hundreds of meals, activities and events. Today, many communities have a manual process to communicate this information to their residents. Through automation, communities can save time and money.
There are multiple systems available to manage all of the different day-to-day activities going on, but they can be overwhelming to run individually. When integrated onto one platform, these systems can be accessed from one central location. This helps facility operators cut down on paper costs from menus and surveys; limit food waste with automated meal ordering; and avoid overbooked or unwanted activities and events by monitoring signup data.
There are a myriad of moving parts when it comes to running a senior living facility, but interoperability can take a huge weight off operators’ shoulders. Maximizing the use of your current systems and leveraging them in a way that make sense for your facility can not only boost your bottom line, but it will improve your employees’ and residents’ lives as well.
Danielle Myers is the general manager ofStatus Solutions, arisk management and situational awareness technology company.