The ONE simple thing United Methodist Communities did to dramatically improve security
In this short Q&A, you will hear from Larry Carlson, CEO, and Jessica Stewart, Executive Director, of United Methodist Communities, as they discuss ONE simple way to add security to senior living communities.
Q. How has Accushield increased safety in your community?
Answer: Accushield has allowed us to be much more vigilant about who is in our buildings at all times. While important with all visitors, it has been particularly helpful with our vendors. Many of the vendors have their own company badge but our residents were never sure that the community was aware that they were on site. With the Accushield system, our residents feel more secure – the Accushield badge assures them that the vendor has checked in and had interaction with our community team before they entered the community. In addition, in the event of an emergency, we are able to quickly determine who is in our building and who is not. Accushield gives us a quick and accurate view of not only guests and vendors, but also which residents are in the building and which are out. We have one community where we worked with the local municipality on an evacuation process. During the drill, they asked us how many people were in the building and we were able to give them an accurate answer in seconds.
Q. How do your families feel about a digital visitor management system?
Answer: Initially there can be a little hesitation – we are changing from a system that has been in place since the beginning of senior living – but they quickly love it! Once our families understand that Accushield is geared towards keeping their loved ones safe, they are all for it. They quickly see how easy Accushield is to use and like the fact that all visitors must sign in, receive a badge, and be accounted for.
In certain cases where a family member is a POA, their job is made much easier because they have an easy way to understand who has seen their loved one.
Q. What challenges did the paper sign-in book present for your communities?
Answer: How much time do you have?! Paper sign-in books create so many challenges. First, they are time-consuming – we have to make sure they are out where they can be accessed and we have to explain which book should be signed depending on the visitor. People walk right by a book, whereas the kiosk is very welcoming and intrigues the visitor. Storing the sign-in books was cumbersone. We need to have access to sign-in information going back many years. We had one situation where we had to pull sign-in information from seven years prior, going through each line to try to find the information that we needed. With Accushield, that information is accessible in seconds via the system’s reporting capabilities.
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Q. Tell us about the installation of the Accushield system. How difficult was it?
Answer: Very easy. All you need to do with the kiosk is plug it in! The kiosk can be moved easily. All of the information we needed for the system to work was easy to upload. When I first saw the product I thought “Why wouldn’t you do this?”
Q. How has Accushield’s badging benefitted your communities?
Answer: The clear number one benefit is that our residents feel safer. They feel more secure knowing that everyone, whether guest or vendor, has signed in. Unfortunately, in today’s world, that extra level of diligence and accountability is necessary. At one point, with the paper sign-in book, we had visitors walking around without badges and had no way of knowing if they had signed-in. Now, if we see someone without a badge, we are able to introduce ourselves, escort them back to the front desk, and sign them in. Badging has also allowed us to be more welcoming and hospitable. When a guest or vendor is wearing a badge with their name on it, our team members are able to greet them by name. It’s simple, but it is an effective way to connect more closely with family members and vendors.
Q. Any last thoughts or advice for anyone considering Accushield for their community?
Answer: I will go back to what I said earlier. When I first saw the Accushield system, I thought “Why wouldn’t you do this?” We live in a world that requires us to take reasonable steps to maintain safe and secure senior living communities. Many of our residents are vulnerable and it is our privilege to help limit that vulnerability. Accushield is a simple way to manage vulnerability that visitor risk presents.
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