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Editor’s Note: McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards winners will be announced every day this week. Senior Living track winners will be announced here by McKnight’s Senior Living. Skilled care track winners will be announced on the website of sister publication McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

An internally developed app to foster family engagement, and the use of technology designed to improve resident quality of life, were the focus of Gold Award winners in the Marketing and Activities categories, respectively, in the Senior Living track of the 2018 McKnight’s Excellence Technology Awards. Windsor Healthcare and Charlie’s Place Activity and Respite Center are the winners in these categories.

Gold Award – Marketing, Senior Living

McKnight’s 2018 Excellence in Technology Awards

Norwood, NJ-based Windsor Healthcare was looking for a way to keep family members engaged and thinks it has found it by developing an app that shares information about programs and special events and contains blogs, notifications and a monthly calendar.

The effort landed Windsor in the top spot in the Marketing category of the Senior Living track in the 2018 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards.

The “WHC Recreation” app, downloadable at no charge in the App Store and on Google Play, was developed internally by a team led by Regional Director Ricardo Pena. It has been downloaded about 50 times in the three months that it was been available, but use right now mostly is by staff members before a wider rollout among the organization’s nine communities.

“Staff members are really excited about the app, and we are all looking forward to fully spreading the excitement to our families and residents,” Pena said.

For the rollout, Windsor will share news of its existence via fliers at the communities, social media and family meetings, he added.

Other winners in the Marketing category of the Senior Living track:

  • Silver Award: Park Creek Independent Living, a Civitas Senior Living community in Cypress, TX, for its partnership with VoCo (formerly CT Home), which resulted in the installation of Alexa devices and custom applications to engage residents. The devices are preprogrammed for residents with an activities calendar and daily menu specific to each community. Park Creek said it has more than doubled occupancy since the initial Alexa implementations. “Even though Park Creek is in an extremely competitive area, the community has continued to see significant new move-ins because of this expanded marketing effort,” the community wrote in the nomination. “Park Creek could not only tout resident wellness; it enjoyed marketing benefits as well.”
  • Bronze Award: Royal Palms, Regal Palms and Palms of Largo campus, Largo, FL, managed by the Goodman Group, for a pilot program using Rendever virtual reality to drive connectedness and reduce loneliness. “Residents participated every week as a type of ‘new experience club,’ ” which spurred conversations, drew in family members and helped staff members learn more about residents, according to the nomination. Measured results proved the program was successful at meeting its goals, the Goodman Group said.

Gold Award – Activities, Senior Living

Charlie's Place
Charlie’s Place Respite Coordinator Dedrick Welch, left, and Director of Services Dana Territo demonstrate the It’s Never 2 Late system.

Fruit and chocolate chip cookies couldn’t entice “Mr. Smith” to exit the car in which he was riding when it arrived at Charlie’s Place Activity and Respite Center, but hymn music, played on a portable It’s Never 2 Late device and then on a stationery unit inside the building, did the trick.

“It might have taken 30 to 40 minutes of coaxing him to get out of the car — we have to be so patient with individuals with Alzheimer’s — but the iN2L system was the perfect solution in attracting him and getting him to stay for the day at Charlie’s Place,” said Dana Territo, director of services at the Baton Rouge, LA, day program for those with dementia.

Charlie’s Place’s use of the technology garnered it the Gold Award in the Activities category in the Senior Living track of the 2018 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards.

The day program has been using the system since 2012 thanks to a grant from the Pennington Foundation. “It was the first iN2L installation in a day center in Louisiana,” Territo said, “and I think it was the first in any senior living setting in the state, too.”

Charlie’s Place purchased a 60-inch device for its second location in Gonzales, LA, when it opened a little over a year ago, she said, adding that iN2L is used daily with Charlie’s Place’s clients.

“There’s something for everyone — mentally stimulating games, music, spiritual activities, travel, sports. You name it,” Territo said, “and everything is at the fingertips of the person who is operating it at any given time,” she added.

In addition to being an amenity that impresses guests, Territo said, iN2L makes caregivers’ jobs less stressful. “When the clients are having a good time and are content, then we know we have done a good job in creating a purposeful day for them,” she added.

Other winners in the Activities category of the Senior Living track:

  • Silver Award: The Maplewood, Webster, NY, for its use of the CareShare Manager system, which it says has facilitated an efficient process for managing and assessing each social and care activity dimension. The system has increased the size of the volunteer community by 60% because volunteers self-manage their schedules, and its use also has resulted in a 25% drop in complaints from family member because they have the ability to engage through the Family Community capability of CareShare, according to The Maplewood.
  • Bronze Award: Trezevant Episcopal Home, Memphis, TN, for its use of a program for iPads from Music and Memory. “We use it both for 1:1 interactions as well as group activities. …Our favorite aspect of this use of technology is that it meets each individual at their particular level of comfort with this type of interaction,” according to the community.

Stanley Healthcare is the Platinum Sponsor of the 2018 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards. Matrixcare is the Gold Sponsor of the senior living track, and Netsmart is the Gold Sponsor of the skilled care track.