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Wi-Fi Tags Reduce Risk of Falling at Elder-Care Facility

Samarinda Lodge says the system enables employees to respond to residents' needs and requests more quickly, resulting in increased productivity and staff retention.
By Dave Friedlos
Samarinda Lodge first implemented Vocera's communications system, a wireless voice over IP (VoIP) network that enables staff members to communicate hands-free with other workers anywhere on the facility's Wi-Fi network, using a Vocera Wi-F9 communications badge—a clip-on, voice-controlled device with a microphone and a speaker. Residents were also provided with Cisco 7921G Wi-Fi-based wireless telephones in their rooms, configured to answer on speaker from internally generated calls.

Samarinda then introduced AeroScout's Wi-Fi-based RFID system, utilizing the facility's existing Cisco Unified Wireless Network. AeroScout T2 battery-powered tags transmit an identification number via a 2.4 GHz signal. The information, received by standard Wi-Fi access points, is then sent over Ethernet to AeroScout's MobileView software, which calculates tag locations and boasts sophisticated mapping, searching, alerting and reporting capabilities.

Each resident is provided with an AeroScout Wi-Fi tag that has a button for requesting assistance. A resident in need of help can press the call button on his or her tag, which is fastened to that person's wrist via an elastic band. Employees can then access the MobileView software via a computer monitor to quickly locate the individual who pressed the button.

"Because our wireless network extends around the block," Gilchrist says, "residents who are physically able can now take a daily walk around the block, secure in the knowledge that they can alert staff who will be able to locate them if they fell or were unable to complete the walk."

By responding faster to residents' needs and requests, the facility has seen fewer falls, as residents are now less likely to attempt to get out of a bed or chair when they shouldn't, if they are confident help will arrive quickly.

AeroScout tags were also attached to shower trolleys, lifting equipment and wheelchairs, allowing employees to quickly search for and locate equipment when needed, thereby leading to improved staff times and productivity.

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