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Friday, December 1, 2023

Why visitor management in aged care facilities is critical

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Despite vaccinations now ramping up across Australia, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Recent events have demonstrated how easily and quickly the virus can spread within the community.

COVID-19 has heightened the need for a simple yet secure way of managing visitors and contractors, particularly when it comes to protecting the elderly in aged care facilities. Being able to effectively manage all visitors and contractors that enter these facilities will continue to be high on the agenda to keep staff, patients, and the community safe.

Aged care facilities can use technology to more efficiently track visitors, elevating facility safety and compliance while also reducing overheads and administration costs. It’s essential that these facilities invest in modern technology solutions, including digital visitor management systems, that let them more efficiently track people on site, without increasing costs exponentially.

Creating a safe and secure environment

The changing regulations across states in response to COVID-19 outbreaks have caused many aged care facilities to open and close their doors to visitors and contractors. The use of the state-based COVID-tracking apps has been necessary in supporting the government’s contact tracing efforts, helping to register all visitors to aged care institutions.  

While supporting government efforts with these tools is essential, investing in digital visitor management systems gives aged care facilities an added layer of support in keeping their residents and staff safe onsite. Modern solutions also incorporate additional features, such as QR code functionality, to help ensure the ongoing safety and security of visitors.

Furthermore, while digital visitor management systems can provide a rapid overview of who is onsite at any given time, which is essential for COVID-19 contact tracing, they can also be leveraged into the future to help improve the ongoing security of the premise. The latest digital systems capture and record relevant information, storing it in a secure database in real time. This guarantees that aged care organisations have the most up-to-date information possible about people in the facility at any given time, should an outbreak occur and contact tracing become necessary.

Growing healthier aged care facilities

With families looking to reunite after long periods apart, aged care organisations must put the health and safety of residents, staff, and visitors above all else in a bid to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus. Some of the latest digital visitor management systems use infrared temperature scanning features to check visitors’ temperatures. These systems can notify staff immediately if they detect a person with an elevated temperature, so effective measures can be taken.

By monitoring the health and safety of onsite visitors, and keeping a close eye on potentially infectious people, these facilities can help to minimise the spread of contagions to vulnerable people. However, this won’t only benefit the aged care sector during the pandemic. As the 2021 flu season continues, and in the case of future health events, these tools can be reused to better protect the health of workers and visitors.

Saving lives and costs

While implementing digital visitor management systems can be an upfront expense, the result is a long-term investment into the health and safety of the aged care facility and its staff, visitors, and contractors. These systems can even potentially reduce administrative costs by removing the need for dedicated staff to spend time monitoring visitors or checking temperatures.

While the pandemic has highlighted the need for visitor management systems to support contact tracing efforts, it has also sped up the digital transformation of the aged care sector.

By using digital systems, aged care providers can keep their costs low without sacrificing the health, safety, or security of their staff, residents, visitors, and the community. Investing in these solutions now will result in better preparedness for the future, and the peace of mind that comes with a safe and secure facility.

  • Stephen Darracott is vice president and country manager of Pitney Bowes Japan, Australia and New Zealand
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