Secure Care Products wandering resident RTLS software

Elpas to EOL Its RTLS Products

Last month, Elpas announced its plans to end of life (EOL) its real time location systems (RTLS) products. A letter on the Elpas website indicates that the decision to end of life these products was based on the overall health of the business, the amount of investment and innovation required to continue offering a competitive solution and other factors.

While we are sure this decision was not made without extensive consideration, it must put current Elpas customers in a very challenging position. The letter indicates that there are currently no transition or migration plans at this time. And since Elpas has been in business for decades, there is likely an extensive customer base left wondering: what happens once the company stops providing support for these products after June 20, 2019?

Secure Care Products has been in business for nearly 40 years. In that time, we were the first in the market to provide a wandering resident solution that enabled residents to move freely and securely about their living spaces. Decades later we were the first to provide individual protection for infants in the hospital with our KinderGUARD® solution featuring cutband technology. And in recent years we have developed our own RTLS solution based on ultra-wideband technology for superior locating accuracy.

So if you are an existing Elpas customer concerned about the future of your installed systems, we would love to speak with you about the possibility of switching to a Secure Care Products solution. We have an extensive network of distribution partners around the globe eager to help design the solution your facility needs. Whether it’s a basic door management solution, or if you’re looking for fully integrated real-time location capability, we’re confident we have a solution to fit your needs. Contact us today to set up a call to discuss a customized solution, or visit our website to learn more.

Secure Care Products is happy to help you work through this transition. We can provide customized solutions to maintain your facility’s safety, security and efficiency now, and long into the future.

asset tracking and time management

How Does Your Hospital Rate?

The Leapfrog Group of Washington, D.C. has released its Spring 2018 Hospital Safety Grades. So, how do the hospitals in your state rank?  And what’s more…how can hospitals improve their rankings on lists like these?

Nearly a third of the 2,500 general acute care hospitals surveyed earned an “A.”  Where many of this year’s “A” recipients have previously had “D” or “F” ratings on prior lists, the results indicate a positive trend toward improvements.  According to the the Leapfrog Group, theirs is the only list focused entirely on errors, accidents, injuries and infections. Collectively, these issues represent the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Measuring Healthcare Providers

Of course there are many such lists and rankings available for variety of healthcare providers. Most working in the healthcare industry are familiar with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) star ratings.  The CMS website allows you to quickly and easily compare overall hospital quality star rating for hospitals near your zip code. And Becker’s Hospital Review publishes an annual list of “100 great hospitals in America.” All of these lists take into account a wide variety of criteria and statistics.  Some factors may be reported directly by the hospitals themselves via survey responses.  Other are gleaned indirectly via regulatory reporting requirements.

Improve Hospital Ranking with Increased Safety and Better Efficiency

At the end of the day, anything that hospitals can do to reduce errors, improve efficiency, and increase patient satisfaction can only help improve their ranking.  Improvements are achieved via many different methods. Hospitals may start the process by focusing on a specific department or unit. Using technology or systems to help manage things is one way to target improvements.  For example, installation of a real-time location (RTLS) solution in the emergency department can help staff better manage workflow.  RTLS could also significantly reduce or eliminate time wasted searching for critical equipment. The addition of an infant protection system in the labor and delivery unit ensures each and every baby is safe and secure anywhere within the unit.  Still other hospitals may choose to enact policy or procedural changes to drive increased safety across the entire hospital system.

No matter how they approach it, hospitals must understand the importance and impact of these rankings.  They must also be continuously working to improve their scores. As patients become increasingly involved in their own healthcare decisions, they will seek out the best value care.  Improving rankings could increase a hospital’s ability to attract patients and earn referrals.

So….what is your facility doing to help improve its ratings on these various lists and surveys of providers? Contact Secure Care Products today and let us demonstrate how our solutions can help drive improved safety and efficiency at your hospital.

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New Panic Button Laws Cropping Up Around the Country

Providing Panic Buttons in Hotels Can Improve Staff Safety…and Overall Efficiency

The #MeToo movement has taken the world by storm over the last several months.  It has also given momentum to efforts in the hospitality industry to improve conditions for its most at-risk workers by requiring the use of panic buttons.  Hotel staff responsible for serving guests, and cleaning/maintaining guest rooms have reported very high rates of sexual harassment and assault.  The high rates of harassment are due to a variety of factors that makes this group of workers particularly vulnerable.  Factors that make these workers more vulnerable to harassment include: English often not their native language, a general fear of retaliation from supervisors, a work environment that requires they enter isolated personal spaces.

Ordinances already passed in New York, Chicago and Seattle mean that hotels need to provide panic buttons and more stringent sexual harassment policies.  Unincorporated parts of Sacramento county just passed an ordinance earlier this year, and workers in Las Vegas are planning to request panic buttons in upcoming negotiations.  Daily fines or the risk of having licenses revoked can be the result of non-compliance with some of the new laws passed.  These new ordinances usually specify the following for a panic button:

  • Something that staff can easily carry with them or wear as they go about their day-to-day tasks
  • Must be provided at no cost to the worker
  • Can summon help to their location

Technology is the Solution

RTLS (real-time location system) technology offers an ideal solution for meeting new hotel panic button law requirements.  These systems are designed to locate people and things in real time using various technologies.  Some RTLS uses UWB (ultra-wideband), BLE (Bluetooth low energy), IR (infrared) or Wi-Fi.  Generally, a real-time location system is made of 3 main parts:

  1. Software (usually on a computer at central security or main desk console)
  2. Transmitters (small, portable devices worn or carried by staff that sends the location information)
  3. Receivers (a stationary device, typically wall or ceiling mounted, that receives the location information from the transmitters)

Location accuracy and reliability of the system are absolutely critical to ensure the fastest response to a panic button call.  Secure Care Products offers the ENVisionIT® RTLS solution which uses UWB technology for accuracy to within ± 1 foot.  This ensures instant room-level notification without a need for hardware in every single room.  In addition, we offer a mobile app with picture push feature.  This means anybody receiving a panic button alarm notification will see: name, location and photo of the person in need.

RTLS For Panic Buttons….and More

More cities and states across the country will pass legislation requiring hotels to provide panic buttons to their staff.  This means we’re sure to see an increased need for RTLS in the hospitality industry.  Generally, the hotel industry has resisted panic buttons as an undue cost.  However, by selecting the right technology to meet panic button law requirements, hotels can do them selves a great service.  UWB-based RTLS technology is an ideal panic button solution due to its high-level accuracy and reliability.  But this technology easily lends itself to additional use cases in hotels/casinos/convention centers.  Hotels can immediately start improving overall operational efficiency by using RTLS for workflow management and asset tracking.  RTLS is a great technology for the future of hospitality.  Contact us today to learn more about RTLS for your hotel.

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Is Your Facility Prepared for an Active Shooter Emergency?

By now, healthcare facilities are familiar with the CMS emergency preparedness rule.  This rule provides “best practices” for disaster and emergency preparedness.  But many sites, especially long-term care facilities, often overlook preparedness when it comes to an active shooter/armed intruder emergency.  While it is a difficult scenario to think about, it is something that must be considered.  Planning and preparation accordingly will ensure the best possible outcome in the event of such a tragedy.

Long-term care facilities face especially difficult challenges with regard to an active shooter event.  With residents requiring varying levels of assistance and an environment that is often designed specifically to look and feel like a home, it can be challenging to imagine how an active shooter emergency would be best addressed.  This is all the more reason to make planning and preparation for such an event a top priority.  Below are four areas to help you start thinking about this very real threat:

Hazards Vulnerability Assessment (HVA)

This is where your team should list any and all potential hazards your facility could experience (including active shooter).  In addition, you should indicate the likelihood of each hazard listed.  This will help your team prioritize and focus on the most urgent areas of concern.  For example, earthquake may be listed on every facility’s HVA.  But if a facility is in California, the higher likelihood makes it a more urgent priority than for a facility in, say, Connecticut.  Your risk assessment and planning and preparations all start based on the HVA, so make sure it’s as thorough as possible.

Communication with Local Emergency Responders

Be sure to reach out to your local emergency responders.  Share and review your HVA with them and ask for their input – they will likely have suggestions to help you improve your plan.  It’s important to communicate with these people who are likely to be the first responders to your facility in the event of an emergency.  Describe and discuss your population with emergency responders so they have an understanding of who they could be dealing with in advance of an emergency.

Conduct Drills and Training

Almost everyone is familiar with fire drills.  But training and preparing for an active shooter or other emergencies is just as critical.  Drills should be done regularly, and be focused on specific emergencies (i.e. active shooter, fire, medical, etc).  Practicing the specific functional aspects of preparation help ensure that your staff know exactly what to do in the case of any given event.  While unpleasant to consider, unprepared personnel might freeze into inaction.  When specific situations or events are practiced and drilled routinely, “muscle memory” kicks in when an event really happens.

Documentation

This step can easily be overlooked or thought to be not that important.  But documenting everything about your emergency preparedness is critical.  Many think about documentation for training purposes.  However, documenting many other facets of your planning can be beneficial as well.  Below are just a few suggestions of things you should consider capturing along the path to emergency preparedness:

  • Emergency planning and prep meeting minutes
  • Discussions or meetings held with local emergency responders
  • Outline of the steps and actions your facility has taken towards preparing for emergencies

Having documentation of such things is incredibly helpful as part of the planning and preparation process.  And it can also become a valuable resource during post-event recovery.  Being able to provide proof of your planning process, training records and other steps taken to prepare in advance for such an event can go a long way in the aftermath of an emergency.

As much as nobody expects such a tragedy at their facility, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Take the time now to make sure your facility and staff are prepared.  Many excellent resources are available and below we’ve provided a few links to help get you started.

Lastly, reach out to your local police and fire departments, your state’s health and human services department or even other local healthcare facilities.  Our distributors would gladly help review your current security, fire safety and access control systems.  They could also assist in specifying any new systems or upgrades that could help improve your facility’s safety.  A wander management solution and real-time location system can ensure residents and patients don’t get into areas they shouldn’t, and help you know when and where everyone is at all times.  Contact us today to learn more.

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Emergency Communication Best Tool for Nurse and Staff Safety

The United States Department of Labor warns, “Workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings face significant risks of workplace violence. Many factors contribute to this risk, including working directly with people who have a history of violence or who may be delirious or under the influence of drugs…In fact, healthcare accounts for nearly as many serious violent injuries as all other industries combined.”  Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are instituting plans and tools to prevent incidents and protect their nurses and other staff.

Some of the most valuable strategies and tools for caring for our caregivers is available through the OSHA Worker Safety in Hospitals page.  In addition, the Joint Commission recommends installing an emergency communication system that enables staff to quickly and easily signal for help in urgent situations.

Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) often provide “panic buttons” for staff duress, however, not all RTLS systems are alike.  In a report published by the PMC, they detail the benefits of Ultra Wideband (UWB) RTLS systems.  They state, “UWB is one of the most recent, accurate, and promising technologies…UWB technology, unlike other positioning technologies such as infra-red and ultrasound sensor, does not require a line-of-sight and is not affected by the existence of other communication devices or external noise due to its high bandwidth and signal modulation.”  This is a significant difference when the application is emergency communication, providing a much more reliable and accurate system.

ENVisionIT by Secure Care Products is an UWB RTLS Solution that includes a Staff Safety Badge that can be worn by nurses and other hospital and healthcare staff.  The Staff Safety Badge has a push button on the badge which can be programmed for staff duress or any other workflow use.  This information can also be directly communicated to mobile devices through the mVision mobile application to all staff, including security.  The mobile app allows you to customize the notifications and set escalation paths ensuring no call for help goes unattended.  This provides a complete safety communication solution for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

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