Location technology: Helping a senior living community improve resident care and staff efficiency

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Adam Peck
Adam Peck

Samaritan Village in Hughson, CA, is a stand-alone, not-for-profit senior living community located in the state's San Joaquin Valley. The 20-acre campus offers its residents a variety of lifestyle options, ranging from independent living to assisted and residential living.

Samaritan Village opened its doors in 2002, with a mission statement of “empowering seniors to maintain a superior quality of life.” In accordance with this mission statement, several years ago the community began evaluating new technology to further improve its care for residents while providing additional peace of mind.

Staff members required a system that could offer reliable security for community members while preserving their independence. It would have to be flexible to serve the varying needs of residents, and adjustable as their needs changed over time. Ease of installation and minimal infrastructure costs also were important considerations to keep expenses down.

The community selected a CenTrak resident security system that incorporates real-time location system, or RTLS, technology. Residents and care staff members receive badges they wear around the community.

Unlike other systems, which alert only when a resident nears an area designated as restricted, the RTLS system provides the current location of all residents and staff members. Staff can adjust individual residents' access to different areas as necessary for protection or instantly locate a resident if he or she is reported missing. And if a resident requires assistance at any time, a simple push of the button on his or her badge alerts care staff, who can come to the resident's aid immediately. 

Samaritan Village's resident security system is powered by small monitors, similar in size and shape to smoke detectors, installed throughout buildings across the community. The monitors emit Second Generation Infrared (Gen2IR), which fills the room with invisible light without penetrating walls. Staff and resident badges actively send a signal that interacts with the infrared to communicate their exact location. The monitors and badges work with third-party software to create a system interface accessible to Samaritan Village staff members, which allows them to monitor badge locations, control access to certain areas and complete other reporting functions.

The community's response to the resident security system was positive. Residents may travel freely around the campus knowing they are always protected.

“The system wasn't here when I moved in, and I was very welcome to have it because it helped my cousin, [who] was very sick,” said Samaritan Village resident Ruth Garret. “That was our first experience with calling someone and having them right there. Since that time, I've used it, too. It's a great feeling of safety.”

Samaritan Village is realizing benefits its system has on caregiver workflow efficiency. Having access to the real-time location of staff allows them to analyze methods of operation for possible improvements.

“The system is accurate, reliable, stable and at the same time has the powerful reporting capabilities to identify when caregivers actually provided the care and how long they were there,” said Albert Perez, director of IT and operations at the community.

Beyond senior care, location technology also is used in healthcare facilities for applications including asset tracking and management, hand hygiene compliance, infection control and infant protection.

To learn more about the Samaritan Village resident security system, view the case study video here

Adam Peck, vice president of marketing for Newtown, PA-based CenTrak, is a senior marketing professional with 20 years of experience within healthcare, technology and the life sciences.

McKnight's Senior Living welcomes marketplace columns on subjects of value to the industry. Please see our submission guidelines for more information.

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