What the DON really wanted to know was, ”where is the resident or staff member when they press their wireless pendant or duress button for help”. Simply put, accurate and pertinent information in a timely manner. The solution, in this case, is a function called Localisation and is provided by a low power radio signal transmitted from a tag, wrist alarm or pendant device to wireless infrastructure. The signal is digested by the system and device location identified using complex mathematics, then presented to care team members through a customised text message displayed on an LCD screen (annunciator), pager, smartphone or web-based dashboard. Problem solved.
But back to those moving dots on a screen (RTLS). Despite the DONs comment, RTLS does have its place in a facility. When the question was put to the DON, “how do you find critical equipment or residents quickly?”, an obvious response was “look for them?”. Challenge accepted.
RTLS is an ideal technology for quickly locating people or equipment around a facility. It operates using a low energy radio signal from a small device worn or attached to either people, clothing or equipment. This device regularly transmits a very low power signal to tell receivers installed around the facility where it is. This technology can share the infrastructure of a Localisation network, and like that service, processes the incoming signals to calculate where the device is, along with its human or equipment attachment.
With both Localisation and RTLS, the accuracy of the location is a function of how many receiver points are installed around the facility. The more the receivers, the greater the granularity and accuracy of the location. With the Vitalcare system, these receivers and Localiser/RTLS functionality is built into standard call points. This strategy helps reduce the cost of the network and increase the density and availability of nurse call and emergency buttons across the facility.
Due to the amount of digital traffic with Localiser and RTLS beacons chirping away, the infrastructure needs to be wired with the very familiar blue Cat6 ethernet cabling hidden in walls, floors and ceilings. This is most cost-effective when installed in new builds, however can be fitted retrospectively — provisioning an existing facility with this valuable functionality.
The benefits of RTLS & Localiser technology far outweigh the costs — whether it be for quickly locating important equipment, managing wandering dementia sufferers, or simply providing care personnel with the confidence that should they press the duress button, help will come.