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RTLS Technology is a Useful Tool in Improving Long Term Care (LTC) Resident-to-Resident Elder Security

Posted by Carolyn Marquis on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 @ 01:13 PM

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According to research published in the June 2016 edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, one in five nursing home residents have experienced abuse by other residents. 

Nursing homes are working diligently to find prevention strategies for Resident-To-Resident Elder Mistreatment (R-REM).  Some have found that increasing meaningful social interactions as well as physical and mind stimulating activities for their residents helps them to get more sleep resulting in reduced anxiety and aggression.  While providing life enrichment programs are beneficial to the residents, these methods are not proven to prevent elder abuse or mistreatment.

"We urgently need strategies to address this under-recognized problem, which affects fully one-fifth of all residents, erodes their quality of life, and is stressful for staff to manage," said Dr. Lachs, co-chair of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology and the Irene F. and I. Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states: “Elder abuse is a serious problem that can have harmful effects on victims. The goal for elder abuse prevention is simple: to stop it from happening in the first place. However, the solutions are as complex as the problem.  Knowledge about what works to prevent elder abuse is growing. However, most prevention strategies and practices have not yet been rigorously evaluated to determine their effectiveness.” 

Some long term care facilities are quickly discovering what hospitals have already figured out: Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS) can greatly enhance patient safety by providing the ability to quickly locate at-risk patients.  The patient or resident wears a transmitter on their wrist or ankle.  The transmitter sends location based information to the software which can be configured to send notifications to healthcare staff via computer, tablet, or smartphone.  These notifications can be alarms or alerts based on rules defined in the software and can be delivered to designated staff members.  In addition, the software interface includes a floor plan of the facility where areas can be easily defined creating monitored zones.  Staff can then be notified by alarms or alerts when a resident or patient breaches those zones.

This technology can empower staff to quickly respond, preventing dangerous incidents and protecting the most vulnerable residents.