An assisted living facility in Connecticut, Benchmark Senior Living, has launched a pilot program to track its residents. Most of the residents have diagnoses of some form of dementia and many are at risk of falling.

Their work could have implications down the line for larger hospital systems and rehabilitation centers.

All residents and staff must wear a pendant around their neck. The pendant is part of a system sold by Stanley Black and Decker. It uses WiFi technology to monitor the location of the residents. Each staff member carries an iPod Touch with an app shows each resident’s location on a map of the facility.

For potential residents to be accepted into the facility, they and their families must consent to the policy.

Benchmark is using the system to better understand the behavioral patterns of its residents. In addition, the system can intelligently help to maintain resident safety based on their individual needs. For example, an exit door might quietly lock as a resident with dementia nears. A staff member can be alerted when a fall risk patient is stationary in an unexpected place (like the bathroom) for a long period of time.

The facility’s executive director, Doug Cormack, says that emergency response times have significantly decreased since the system was implemented since March.

The implementation of this program could be utilized by larger hospital and rehabilitation centers as older patient populations are at risk of delirium and fall risks in general.  In the future, we envision a time where patients will be on monitors similar to how airplanes can be identified on runway radar. While certainly a bit Orwellian, it could reduce falls and improve patient care as this current implementation is showing.

Source: Washington Post, Hillside Healthcare