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Haus Desiree Uses RTLS to Keep an Eye on Nursing Home Residents

The German facility utilizes a solution from Ekahau and HealthCarion to track the locations of residents, ensure that they do not wander and send messages to staff members if a resident requires help.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 04, 2012Residents at German nursing home Haus Désirée have greater freedom of movement thanks to a real-time location system (RTLS) that offers employees a view into each resident's location as he or she travels about the facility. The RTLS solution utilizes Ekahau hardware and HealthCarion's software platform to keep nursing-home personnel appraised regarding the locations of residents and other staff members, and to respond to a call for a nurse—all of which is tracked and stored in the facility's back-end system.

The solution, installed three months ago, consists of Ekahau Wi-Fi-based RFID wristbands and badges and IR beacons, as well as Zyxel Wi-Fi nodes that receive the unique ID number and location of every Ekahau wristband or badge at regular intervals as the wearers move about the facility.

Christian Schulze, HealthCarion's managing partner of strategy and sales
The nursing home had been searching for nurse-call technology to replace an outdated system that it was using to communicate with 15 or so staff members working onsite. It selected HealthCarion's Wi-Fi-based solution not only to transmit messages to nurses, but also to track the locations of residents and receive that location data in the event that a resident requires assistance or wanders away.

A total of 20 Zyxel Wi-Fi nodes were installed throughout the building. Each of the facility's 50 residents wears a waterproof Ekahau T301w wristband tag on his or her wrist or ankle, which includes a call button that can be pressed in order to summon assistance. The tag transmits its unique ID number at regular intervals via a 2.4 GHz signal conforming to the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. The tags' signals are received by any Wi-Fi nodes within range. HealthCarion also installed 75 Ekahau LB2 infrared (IR) beacons that transmit, via IR, their own unique ID number. When a wristband receives a beacon's IR signal, it forwards that beacon's ID, along with its own identifier.

The data is received by Ekahau's positioning engine software on its RTLS Controller, which links the location data and ID number and then forwards that information to HealthCarion's Patient Location Guard (PLG) software, residing on the nursing home's back-end system, which determines the appropriate response to that data, such as sending a message to specific staff members. The PLG software stores location information, as well as sending transmissions to nurses if the resident has pressed the nurse-call button. It can also determine which workers should receive that message. Once a nurse responds to the patient's call, he or she can press the call button on the patient's tag once more. The alert is then discontinued in the software, and the event is stored, according to Christian Schulze, HealthCarion's managing partner of strategy and sales.

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