Kerby Lecka, director of marketing, Security Door Controls

Long Term Care (LTC) facilities experience unique security challenges, including access and egress control, relating to patients with dementia-related conditions.

These residents are at risk for wandering and getting lost either in or outside your LTC facility. This can create the danger of injury or even death because they usually suffer from other acute medical conditions that brought them to your facility in the first place.

Obviously, simply keeping your external doors securely locked is not a viable option – that creates its own set of risks and fire hazards.

Consider, instead, simple access control of monitored doors and staff alerts using delayed egress locks to protect patients with dementia-related conditions. Delayed egress solutions are designed to allow patients freedom of movement while preventing them from leaving the safety and protection of the facility (defined as “elopement”).

Electromagnetic locks and electrified exit devices can be connected to access controls with delayed egress logic designed to provide a timed period before the lock is released, and to notify staff of the attempt to open the door.

In this way, patient security can be addressed while maintaining the integrity of your facility’s fire and life safety procedures. Many delayed egress solutions can communicate with existing patient wandering systems, and some integrate the delayed egress logic directly into the hardware, eliminating the need for separate door controllers or consoles.

Many patient alert systems are restraint-free and barrier-free: Residents simply wear a small transmitter on their ankle or wrist. While other visitors, staff, and residents easily flow through monitored doors, the door locks when a resident wearing a transmitter gets too close to the exit. If a resident tries with a transmitter tries to open the door, an audible alarm sounds and an alert is sent to a Central Station staff alert panel.

“What’s great about many of these solutions is that they can easily be incorporated into a facility as a retrofit or an upgrade,” says Kerby Lecka, director of marketing at Security Door Controls. “You don’t need a massive renovation involving entirely new construction.”

Security Door Controls offers latches for fire-rated doors that stay latched even when de-energized, providing added reassurance and security even during a storm or other power loss event. Additionally, touchless sense switches with manual overrides provide sanitary security solutions.

“As we’ve seen with coronavirus and its devastating effects on long-term care facilities, germ control is vitally important,” says Lecka. “Touchless solutions allow you to keep residents safe without extra concerns about yet another panel, switch, or knob that has to be wiped down all the time,” he says. “A great example is placing touchless switches on both sides of an entryway to control an automatic door operator, so that no one ever has to touch the door or switch again to get in or out.”

Increasingly complex regulations and growing liability claims, as well as the undeniable demographic wave of boomers impacting LTC facilities, require industry professionals to proactively respond.

Installing patient alert systems can protect residents, reassure family members about the safety and well-being of their loved ones, make your team members’ job easier, and provide an important market differentiator for potential customers choosing among long-term care options in your area.

Kerby Lecka is director of marketing at Security Door Controls. Email: kerby@sdcsecurity.com

SECURITY DOOR CONTROLS manufactures and markets mechanical door locks, exit devices, access controls, electronic locking devices and security systems worldwide. Since 1972 SDC products have been designed, engineered and built in America to transform the practical application of electricity to door openings for security and fire & life safety.

SDC’s locking systems can be found in virtually any application where access control of a door is required; for example, industrial, commercial, retail facilities, technology centers, high-rise buildings, nuclear power plants, laboratories, museums, art galleries, libraries, schools and universities, airports and transportation facilities, government centers and military bases across the globe.