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Episcopal Senior Communities Expands RTLS Deployment

The organization is using Stanley Healthcare's Wi-Fi-based system to provide an easy way for residents to call for help, detect when wander-prone residents stray toward doorways and monitor temperatures within refrigerators and freezers.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 11, 2015

Episcopal Senior Communities has been expanding its real-time location system (RTLS) deployment at its five campuses. What began four years ago as an emergency-call system for residents at a single community has expanded to operate at all Episcopal locations, along with a wander-management function. Most recently, the organization has installed temperature sensors for its refrigerators and freezers used for storing food and medications, and updated the RFID pendants worn by its residents and is installing the RFID tags on walls. The technology is provided by Stanley Healthcare.

Episcopal Senior Communities provides residential and aging services for senior citizens in northern California. The company emphasizes a home-like environment at each of its campuses, and for that reason encourages residents to move freely around their home area. With that philosophy, the need for security becomes more complex, because if a resident were to need help, he or she might not always be near an emergency pull cord, or might have moved to another location by the time help arrives.

The new P10 pendant has an easier-to-push button that a resident can use to call for help.
All of the communities are managed independently, and each had its own emergency-call system, according to Chris Dana, Episcopal Senior Communities' VP of IT. "Each safety and security program was implemented separately," he says. Consequently, the company sought a way in which to standardize and manage the systems organization-wide.

Episcopal Senior Communities already had a robust Wi-Fi-based infrastructure in place at all of its facilities, so it began looking for a solution that would leverage that system for such functions as emergency calling, door access control and wander management. Dana says the organization sought what he calls a "Swiss Army Knife" solution that offered all necessary services using a single software platform. "We felt the data we could pull out of a system should be driving our decisions across the entire organization," he explains.

The company began working with RTLS technology provider AeroScout prior to that company's acquisition by Stanley Healthcare in 2012.

About four years ago, Episcopal launched a pilot of the technology at its St. Paul's Towers community. At that time, the company offered an AeroScout Wi-Fi pendant to about 50 residents. Each individual's name was paired to his or her pendant, which transmitted a unique identifier via a Wi-Fi signal that was then received by the campus' existing Wi-Fi network. AeroScout MobileView software, residing on a local server, determines the tag's location based on the signal strength (as received by the facility's Wi-Fi access points), as well as on triangulation. If a resident pressed the button on his or her pendant, an emergency transmission was sent to the system indicating that the individual needed help, along with that person's approximate location.

The residents liked the system, the organization reports, and the facility found that its staff members were able to respond to calls quickly, and that the system could capture a record of those responses as employees—carrying Apple iPods running Instant Notifier, the MobileView software's mobile component—followed prompts to indicate they were responding. The facility has since expanded the system to all residents who request it, with a total of 224 out of the 252 currently living at the facility currently using the pendants. (Those who don't tend to be in the health-care center and, therefore, are typically confined to a bed.)

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