Elderly care facilities, senior living, end of life care, hospice, and nursing homes each have their own nuances but serve the same essential purpose: to provide care to those who are no longer able to provide it for themselves. It is at these assisted living facilities where the requirements of care, comfort, and safety collide - resulting in a unique set of challenges. From maintaining a HIPAA-compliant facility to preventing elopements and medical malfeasance, these facilities require a smart combination of technology and manual process to address such challenges.
Enter key control and asset management solutions.
Assisted living facilities are unique in that resident rooms need to be both private but still readily accessible by staff in the event of an emergency. In this case, keys are often administered to residents with copies shared by staff. Key control systems provide a controlled location for the safekeeping and oversight of shared keys in a tamper-proof key control cabinet. This not only prevents patient elopement in facilities where patient entry and egress is controlled by staff but also promotes staff accountability. Key access is recorded to determine the history of each key, including user, date, and time of check-out/return, ensuring staff adherence to facility policies and procedures.
The use of conventional locks and keys within assisted living facilities continues to remain popular due to their cost-effectiveness and ease of use. This is true both for managing access to resident rooms and equipment storage areas. It, therefore, makes sense from a cost and time perspective to maintain these lock and key systems while increasing the level of security they offer. Key management systems are designed to deliver similar levels of oversight as that offered by an access control system, but without the associated upgrade or install costs. Key control solutions provide an immediate improvement to safety and security in a way that is more accessible and easier to integrate in terms of scalability.
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In addition to the safekeeping of residents, assisted living staff tasks also include administering medications, utilizing facility equipment such as radios, and deploying various medical devices. These assets are both valuable and dangerous, making them targets to theft and misuse. An asset management system ensures that all such materials are safely stored within a secure location with access limited based on various parameters such as user, time, etc. The system further delivers real time data regarding where each asset is stored within the system, who has removed or returned an item, and when those actions occurred. Personal staff or resident belongings can also be secured in the specially designed asset lockers, eliminating outdated lockers and unreliable manual logs.
Maintaining HIPAA compliance at assisted living facilities is multifaceted. Access to patients, patient documents, the close relationship between residents and caregivers, the level of care provided, and vendor access muddy the waters when it comes to maintaining regulatory compliance within assisted living facilities. Key control and asset management solutions deployed in such facilities relieve some of these concerns by both limiting access to protected information but also maintaining auditable logs of access. Staff can be sorted into groups for approved access (i.e., medical staff vs. caregiver, vs. housekeeper), making it easier to manage user permissions. With these elements in mind, management will be able to better protect the facility and assets, as well as meet a variety of industry regulations.