Visitor Management in Aged Care: Get ahead of the COVID Code with Digital

Visitor management in aged care homes in the time of C19 can be tackled via digital

 

As the new industry code for aged care visitations is implemented, a few things have become quite clear:

1.     Visits by friends and family are essential to the wellbeing of residents. These social connections cannot be stopped in their entirety.

2.   Visitation processes must change to equip vulnerable consumers, staff, and visitors themselves against COVID-19.

3.   Digital is the most streamlined, accessible, and efficient way to enable this.

Digital streamlines the everyday (such as visitor details and timings) while allowing room for the exceptional (such as extended visits and COVID-specific tracing).

That is because digital streamlines the everyday (such as visitor details and timings) while allowing room for the exceptional (such as extended visits and COVID-specific tracing).This means it’s possible to prioritise safety without compromising vital social connections for your residents.

To break this down, here are some of the principles of the code, tackled by digital.

…providers will continue to facilitate visits between residents and visitors…

It’s possible for visitors to register online, or via a kiosk or tablet on facility, or via the phone while your staff register them. In any case, the idea is to pre-book a time for visitation and have a low-touch solution. Minimising unnecessary exposure via technology goes a long way in keeping up social distancing practices. 

The idea is to pre-book a time for visitation and have a low-touch solution.

…homes may regulate the overall number of visitors…

As a facility, you get to determine the appropriate number of visitors on site at any given time, and this can be partially or completely automated depending on the approach you take. Take the case of self-registrations (via the web or a kiosk at premise). Once the maximum preferred number of people have registered for a time slot, the time slot can be digitally blocked out. The same principle applies if a staff member is assisting with a visit booking.

…wishes and preferences of residents will be at the centre of all decision making…

Your residents can approve or disapprove of certain visitors and certain times. All of this information can be part of a singular database, and any registration would have to fit into these parameters to be valid. The fact that extended visits (in cases of end-of-life management) and shortened visits can be implemented goes to show that digital is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but a flexible asset capable of accommodating individual and facility needs.

Your residents can approve or disapprove of certain visitors and certain times. All of this information can be part of a singular database, and any registration would have to fit into these parameters to be valid. The fact that extended visits (in cases of end-of-life management) and shortened visits can be implemented goes to show that digital is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but a flexible asset capable of accommodating individual and facility needs.

The fact that extended visits (in cases of end-of-life management) and shortened visits can be implemented goes to show that digital is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but a flexible asset capable of accommodating individual and facility needs.

… visitors must provide proof of immunisation for the 2020 influenza season…

Ensuring your visitor’s identity, residential address, and other details that make them easier to trace in a health situation is best done via digital. But it doesn’t stop there—given a person’s health status and flu vaccination are imperative when entering a facility, visitors can be prompted to upload these online, implementing a digital security barrier within your process, without excluding those who may be exempt from this process.

…no visitor should attend an aged care home if they are unwell or displaying any cold/flu, respiratory or COVID-19 related symptoms…

This is where signage can be instrumental. In addition to registration protocol, digital signage at entry points reinforcing rules around hygiene, social distancing, marking designated visiting areas, and simply not entering the premises when feeling unwell, can be a game changer.

In addition to registration protocol, digital signage at entry points reinforcing rules around hygiene, social distancing, marking designated visiting areas, and simply not entering the premises when feeling unwell, can be a game changer.

There’s more to be said for digital, such as its accessibility of languages for culturally diverse users, or the fact that it can be as hands on or hand off for staff as required. For instance, visitors can execute the entire process online or via a kiosk, only needing a staff member when it’s time to be let in, or a staff member can register the visitor and collect their details via phone. This also brings me to my subsequent point.

Follow-up visits are that much easier. Once a visitor’s details have been logged, your database will be able to pull them up instantly for subsequent times. Facial recognition can also be enabled for faster check-ins over time, and when it comes to facilities, digital is phenomenally reliable for audits and reviews.

There’s more to be said for digital, such as faster follow-up check ins, facial recognition, mutliple languages, better tracing and reliable auditability, but the value it adds is in reassurance.

In all of our lives, COVID management will be in play for several months if not the rest of the year. But as one of Australia’s most vulnerable industries gears up for the challenge, the most important thing to realise is that it is not the technology that adds the most value to aged care—it’s the reassurance, as facilities gain confidence in their compliance and residents look forward to their quality time with loved ones. 

Originally posted on May 20, 2020 on https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/visitor-management-aged-care-get-ahead-covid-code-digital-krishna/

Post by Yazz Krishna

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