How Real Time Location Systems Revolutionize Senior Living
Using wearables and sensors to predict patient and resident behavior to prevent adverse events.
Imagine what you could do if you knew exactly where everything and everyone was in a senior living community at any point in time. A Real-Time Location System (RTLS) makes this possible.
Consider GPS (Global Positioning System). It gives you directions because it knows where you are. RTLS is the same thing, only on a smaller scale. Think of it as an “indoor positioning system.” A GPS can identify where something is anywhere in the world; RTLS can identify where something is inside a building. And it can be configured to recognize each of the stations or zones already established within a healthcare facility.
RTLS uses those stations, or zones, to create geofencing, which could define an area within a senior living community. Because you can use it to trigger alerts when someone or something enters a given location, it can revolutionize the way that caregivers deal with both routine and potentially life-threatening events.
Creating A Vibrant Data-Driven Ecosystem
A common use of RTLS is to prevent residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia from wandering. That’s a very narrow application. The broader rationale for deploying RTLS in a senior living community is that caregivers can’t be everywhere at once. And there are many things that can happen at any time.
- 3 million seniors fall every year
- 6 in 10 with dementia wander
- Dehydration remains a top 10 cause of death in senior living communities
When included as part of a comprehensive data-driven ecosystem, designed to prevent accidents or other adverse events, RTLS can enhance the health and safety of both residents and caregivers.
When combining RTLS data with various sensors, wearables, other monitors, and sophisticated analytics, it plays a role in observing and recording the behavioral trends of residents. This includes a set of protocols established to track, document, and evaluate the activities of daily living of all residents in the community. Analyzing this location data, with the aid of artificial intelligence and machine learning, helps a community recognize patterns and anomalies; patterns that can’t be seen by the eyes alone. It creates a 360-degree ecosystem capable of predicting and signaling potential events before they escalate into something serious.
RTLS helps a simple and reactive emergency call system evolve into a truly proactive care engine that lets residents maintain their independence and dignity. This fully integrated, data-driven solution gives caregivers non-intrusive insight into what’s happening with each resident and allows them to provide appropriate patient care. It gives caregivers the ability to minimize or avoid unfavorable events rather than react to accidents or injuries.
Optimizing the 360-degree Ecosystem
Combining RTLS and other sensors deliver staff insight about how residents engage with each other, how social they are, and what their regular activity is. Just like discreet monitors will record vitals, sensors can keep an eye on sleep patterns, alertness, and how well residents adhere to routine schedules.
Other sensors folded into the mix round out the resident view and can include:
- Access control
- Door and window contacts
- Incontinence detectors
- Motion detectors
- Refrigerator opening sensors
- Sensors for room
- Ambient light
- Toilet flushing sensors
All of the information recorded by these devices creates a 360-degree view into the regular patterns of each resident so that when something is out of place, the locating system will capture it.
For example, a resident with limited mobility, who uses a walker or cane, would have a wearable RTLS device paired to a mobility aid. An alert sounds whenever this resident moves outside a preset distance from that walker or cane. The alert would be routed to the smart device of the caregiver closest to the resident to take action. This proactive intervention can prevent the resident from falling.
In another possible scenario, a comprehensive RTLS platform can help prevent conflicts between people who do not get along. Sensors can identify when two residents—with a combative history—enter the same room, or come within a defined proximity of each other, and alert nearby caregivers. In this case, staff can prevent an incident that might otherwise harm those involved or those nearby.
In both examples, the objective is to support the health and safety of residents and caregivers.
Additional Benefits of Real Time Location Tracking
A 360-degree ecosystem combines RTLS data, information from sensors placed in the senior living community itself, information from caregivers and staff, their mobile devices, diagnostic equipment, entry and exit points, and each of the residents and the implements with which they interact every day. It uses a holistic approach to monitoring, analyzing, understanding, and reporting on the entire ecosystem.
When an altar is signaled, it goes to the caregiver closest to the incident. This preemptive approach to risk management is at the heart of dramatic changes taking place in the delivery of life safety solutions in the assisted living industry.
How A Real Time Location System Revolutionizes Senior Living
Real-time location systems built into comprehensive data-driven platforms are revolutionizing the senior living industry. They create a holistic view of a facility, its staff, and residents and provide enhanced safety and wellbeing. Communities that use these systems also offer peace of mind to the residents’ families.
This platform uses predictive senior living technology to detect behavioral trends of residents by monitoring, recording and analyzing their daily activities. Then it intuitively identifies anomalies in those behaviors and alerts caregivers about them in near real time. This is the result of the technology’s ability to anticipate problems before they occur. To prevent accidents before they happen.
The result is a safer environment for both staff and residents. Enhanced care. Greater outcomes for the seniors in its care. And, most importantly, healthier happier residents.