Don’t Overlook This Crucial Aspect of Nursing Home Management
By Jeff Gudewicz
When you’re listing off the top needs of residents of your nursing homes and other senior living centers, what’s at the top? Compassionate care? Quality food and lodging? Engaging activities?
One of the most important aspects of a welcoming assisted living or long-term care facility, and one that is often overlooked, is quality cellular signal. The ability to stay connected is vitally important to all involved in senior living centers—from the residents and their friends/family, all the way to medical personnel and other employees.
Approximately 1.3 million elderly Americans live in nursing homes today, and with 42% of seniors over 65 owning a smartphone, staying connected has become a high priority. Their families want to be able to regularly check in on their well-being, and residents want to stay abreast of what’s going on with their family members and stay connected to the outside world.
Thanks to improved technology, it’s much easier than it used to be to communicate in meaningful ways. The advent of smartphones and technology like FaceTime and Skype have allowed families to stay in touch in real time, 24/7, and even to see one another when separated by distance or other circumstances that prevent in-person visits. The over-65 population is more tech-savvy than ever, and they’ve taken communication with their families into their own hands.
Unfortunately, even in an era of stellar technological advancements, a number of assisted living and long-term care facilities are plagued by poor cell signal that impedes communication. A number of factors, including building materials and the age and location of buildings can contribute to weak or nonexistent cell signal.
If you’re the owner or manager of an assisted living or long-term care facility, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your residents and families can communicate no matter what type of device or technology they’re using to do so. Improving the cellular connectivity in your facility is the best move you can make to provide a higher standard of living for your residents, giving them the confidence that they’ll be able to communicate with their family members and others outside the facility as often and as easily as they’d like.
On the personnel side, strong cellular signal is crucial to maintaining internal communications and the systems and technologies supporting resident and data security. Additionally, you never know when an emergency is going to strike and a landline won’t be available. If you don’t have cellular signal, you’re risking resident and employee safety when you’re unable to contact medical personnel in time to avert an emergency.
Good news for facility owners and managers: Improving the signal in your facility doesn’t have to be costly or disruptive. Cell signal boosters offer an affordable and convenient solution. These boosters use a passive distributed antenna system (passive DAS) to access existing outdoor cellular signal, bring it into your facility, and amplify it up to 32 times.
Unlike traditional active DAS systems, which require networks of fiber optics to be hardwired into a building, passive DAS offers a much simpler solution, using a series of antennas exactly where they are needed to boost signal at as little as 30 cents to 70 cents per square foot, including hardware and installation, making it the more affordable option compared with traditional boosting solutions, which can range from $2 and $4 per square foot.
When it comes to internal communication and the systems and technologies supporting resident and data security, a reliable cell signal is critical. If you’re looking for an affordable solution with the least disruption, passive DAS is the way to go.
CREDIT—Jeff Gudewicz is Chief Product Officer of Wilson Electronics, a leader in wireless communications infrastructure, dedicated to delivering access to communications for everyone, everywhere. The company has designed and manufactured cell phone signal boosters, antennas and related components for more than 20 years, with all products designed, assembled and tested in the U.S.A. Each booster is designed to boost signal from carrier networks, significantly improving cellular coverage in homes, workplaces and vehicles. The booster designs also come equipped with patented technology to protect carrier networks from antenna oscillation, or feedback, and signal overload.