Electronic systems are helping operators in the growing care homes sector to provide caring environments that are not only comfortable and friendly, but also safe, efficient and good business propositions.
Higher standards of living and medical advances are helping to increase life expectancy for many people and security-based technology is becoming an important factor in their later-years care.
Secom, one of the UK’s top electronic security solutions providers, has a care technology offering that adds sector-specific systems to its overall portfolio for clients in the public and private sectors.
Neil Fitzwalter, Secom’s Care Technology Manager, says: “The care sector is growing rapidly on the back of massive investment in facilities catering for the elderly, ranging from the healthy to those with possibly serious medical issues.
“Developers need the ability to deliver the best possible care service in order to achieve a reasonable return on their investment. Purchasers – and their families – need the assurance of a quality lifestyle for residents and a truly professional approach to caring.
“Our range of systems can provide all-round assurance, including access control, security monitoring and fire detection as well as ensuring efficient deployment of staff to handle day-to-day needs of residents – and their personal emergencies.
“We offer the latest in wired and wireless technologies, giving us complete flexibility in meeting clients’ specific requirements. We can also fully integrate our solutions with the full range of life safety and security systems such as access control, fire alarms and closed circuit television.
“The traditional emergency button is at the core of ‘nurse call’ technology, but in the digital era it comes with added features that boost efficiency and help to enhance the care provider’s reputation.”
He says this is particularly important for providers, who are subject to Care Quality Commission scrutiny and are competing to attract future residents.
“The ability to produce clear and concise activity reports can be a valuable benefit, enabling care providers to monitor day-to-day service performance and overall efficiency. These records can also provide crucial evidence for addressing complaints over service delivery – for example, when residents or their relatives perceive that a call may have been unanswered for an unreasonable length of time.
“Management reporting of this type is vital for an efficient care business – but it is also highly desirable if an operator is to achieve ongoing CQC approval of care facilities. This approval, in turn, is an important marketing tool, and a licence to continue operating.”
Neil Fitzwalter says while care technology is vital for efficiency and service quality in accommodation for the elderly and frail, it is equally appropriate in homes for vulnerable adults or children and other residential properties where there is a duty of care, such as boarding schools.
He says: “In these cases, the links between our security and monitoring systems are particularly important. Access controls and intruder alarms keep unauthorised people out, while monitored CCTV addresses safeguarding issues as well as recording other undesirable activity. Automatic fire detection systems help to save lives and limit damage.
“These systems mostly feature on-site monitoring and recording, but the are often also cloud-based, giving authorised managers immediate access to information at any time and, in some cases permitting monitoring by external agencies, such as Secom. This connectivity is, naturally, carefully controlled to avoid breaches of privacy.
“We are in interesting times, with security poised to become a partner in caring for vulnerable people of all ages. Our role is to provide systems that enhance the integrity of the care sector – so that staff can ensure residents are always safe, comfortable and speedily attended to when necessary.”