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At WesleyLife Retirement Community, RFID Brings Freedom to Residents

The system, from Stanley Healthcare, brings peace of mind to the citizenry of The Village, by enabling them to request help regardless of where they are on the 37-acre campus.
By Claire Swedberg

Each resident is assigned an Arial water-resistant pendant containing an alert button that an individual can press in the event that help is needed. Each resident's name and address is linked to the unique ID number transmitted by that person's pendant. As such, if an individual presses the button on his or her pendant, the system knows who that resident is and where he or she lives.

A total of 48 Arial readers were installed throughout the campus, to receive the 900 MHz active RFID signals (using a proprietary air-interface protocol) transmitted by the pendants. Each reader has its own ID number, so when the device receives a pendant's signal, the system can determine that individual's location within approximately 100 feet.

The data is then displayed on the LED screens at nurses' stations, and alerts are issued to the pagers of personnel onsite. Those receiving the alerts can view the name and address of the individual whose pendant is transmitting, as well as his or her general location.

The Village also operates a facility that houses the small number of residents at risk of wandering away from the area in which they should be. In this case, Piper says, the staff members working at that facility wanted a technological solution that would provide safety but still be discrete. Each of these residents wears a Stanley Healthcare RoamAlert Securaband wrist tag. This active tag periodically transmits a 434 MHz signal encoded with a unique ID number. As with the pendant, the resident's name and room number are linked to that ID.

Installed at each facility's exits is an Arial reading device consisting of both a 307 kHz exciter (which transmits its own unique ID number) and a 434 MHz reader. If a resident nears one of the exits, his or her RFID tag receives the exciter's 307 kHz signal, and the tag responds by transmitting its own identifier, along with the exciter's ID. The reader forwards the tag and exciter IDs to the Arial software residing on The Village's server. The doors can be automatically locked, and alerts can be issued to nurses' pagers, or to the devices of other authorized parties who can then proceed to that location and divert the resident away from the exit.

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