Vertical Market Focus: Assisted Living & Health Monitoring--How to Secure Assisted Living Facilities

Security for assisted living facilities need to protect people and assets yet allow for certain freedom of ingress and egress

Regardless of whether a security system is being designed for a large metro’s assisted living facility or a small rural nursing home, a level of access control is required to assure that residents, employees and visitors are properly protected. Not only does the level of protection need to ensure security but it also must allow for freedom of movement among staff and patients.

The security of an assisted living or nursing home might also need to extend to protecting residents from themselves. Many of these facilities are home to individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. These residents require special attention and can benefit from systems to prevent elopement. While we won’t cover those specific technologies here, a thorough understanding of what systems are installed is critical as the security system is developed and installed.Such considerations usually require that the controlled access not only be thorough and effective but easy to use. Such systems have often come with a heavy price tag attached. But they don't have to.

Control access to protect assets

            Controlling access and protecting assets has become ever more important to nursing homes and assisted living organizations. Thanks to the additional focus on access control security, the last few years have seen innovations in how facilities are designed and protected, with emphasis placed on structural integrity and logistical flow.

Patented key systems: Even the design and implementation of keys has made advancements. With the use of a patented key system, assisted living facilities can better protect against duplication because key blanks may only be acquired through the system's manufacturer. Since designs are patented, attempts to duplicate the design without permission are subject to federal law.
Electronic locks and credential readers: There are a number of different applications within a healthcare facility that require varying levels of access control. From perimeter doors to medical records and pharmacy rooms to linen and supplies storage—every area has unique requirements. Electronic locks and credential readers are available with features and options to fit every application—whether it’s a standalone keypad electronic lock with audit trail capability, a wirelessly networked electronic lock that can be upgraded at a later date, or a reader that can read both proximity and smart cards at the same time—the current and future function of each specific opening should be considered when specifying a solution.

Smart cards: Contactless smart credentials provide the highest level of security, compatibility and scalability. They can be customized to meet present security and safety issues but will accommodate other applications that let the system easily, quickly and affordably grow and adapt as needed. The flexible design of these credentials helps them support diversified applications ranging from biometrics to cashless vending to logical access control. Smart card users can gain access to areas of the facility, such as prescription drugs are kept, where only they have been granted special access as well as use equipment, tools and other physical assets.
Biometric readers: Biometric technology may be a viable solution for both the access control and time and attendance systems within a long-term care organization. By scanning a user's fingerprint or hand geometry, biometric devices identify the user and then relay the information back to the system to check access rights or sign them in for their work shift. Because the biometric device checks fingerprints or hand geometry, it eliminates the practice of employees loaning their credentials to others. Biometrics ensures the person is who they say they are. Borrowing another’s card or PIN code isn’t enough.

This content continues onto the next page...