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Wi-Fi-Based RFID Improves Elderly Care

PresCare is using a Wi-Fi-based RFID system to enable its residents to quickly and easily call for help, and to alert staff if a resident wanders into a dangerous area.
By Beth Bacheldor
When a tag's call button is pressed, the tag transmits its unique ID number to a nearby Wi-Fi access point, which passes that information on to each staff member's mobile handheld device, as well as to flat-screen monitors installed throughout the complex. AeroScout Exciters are positioned at doorways, exits and other chokepoints, to detect when residents move through them.

The system can locate the room in which a tag is located, and includes a set of configurable rules designed to trigger alerts when broken. For example, if the system fails to detect a tag's movement for a specified amount of time, or detects that a resident has wandered into an off-limits or dangerous area, an alert can be issued.

According to Slobin, a caregiver responding to an emergency alert presses the call button on the resident's tag in a predetermined pattern. This informs everyone involved that the call has been attended to.

So far, Hanna says, nurses and residents are satisfied with the system. Initially, he states, Surecom had set up an audible alert that sounded throughout the facility whenever a call button was pressed, but "we soon took it off, and the residents prefer the peace and quite."

PresCare has already placed an order to install the system at a second site, Hanna notes, and is looking to implement it at a third site as well, by the middle of next year. When all three systems are up and running, more than 700 tags will be in use for 260 residents and all the staff.

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