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Catching Senior Living Emergencies Early with Predictive Analytics

By Amy Jeffs

Operating a senior living facility is a challenge in itself. While taking care of residents, staff, and buildings, a lot can happen in a single day. Managing all of these events is difficult enough and it only becomes harder when an issue arises. An event as simple as a burst pipe or a refrigerator door being left open can cause damage and result in both money and time lost. Fortunately, there are ways to deter these incidents from happening.

With situational awareness and predictive analytics, a senior living operator can constantly monitor their facility. By doing this, they can catch a problem before it escalates or even happens.

For instance, to avoid the slew of problems and damage that result from a burst pipe, sensors and other technology can be used to monitor a facility’s pipes for potential issues. Different sensors can monitor the temperature and the moisture in the air to collect data on what levels are considered normal. This data is constantly being monitored and analyzed so that when there is a change, the sensors can detect it. Problems like leaks or a burst pipe can be discovered before they occur or cause serious damage. These environmental sensors integrated with the right technology platform can ensure that alerts automatically go out to the appropriate personnel that can manage the situation.

To illustrate this, imagine if an employee accidentally left the kitchen’s refrigerator door open overnight. That would likely result in a huge supply and money loss. Not only would this result in unnecessary expenses, but it inconveniences the whole community, from administrators, to staff, and most importantly residents. However, with environmental monitoring a sensor can detect a problem before it escalates. In this situation, a sensor can monitor the temperature in the fridge or a sensor can be placed to detect whether the fridge door is closed or shut. If a sensor picks up that the temperature in the fridge isn’t right or that the door was left open, an alert could be sent to the head of maintenance or another employee to check the issue. Something as simple as being alerted that a door needs shut or the fridge is changing temperature can save a senior living community from a lot of unnecessary issues and unwanted costs.

This concept can be used to meet a wide variety of different situations or needs in a senior living facility. An operator can monitor their facility’s HVAC system, whether their buildings’ doors or windows are open or shut, the humidity of a server room, and the list goes on. All of this can help to avoid complications and loss before they occur, from broken tech equipment to someone dangerous entering the building without clearance.

There are even some situations operators might not even know they can monitor. For example, falls are a serious threat for residents in senior living communities because they can cause real bodily harm. The risk for falling increases in places with cold weather and where black ice forms. To protect their residents, a senior living community has thermometers in their sidewalks and when the temperature drops near freezing an alert goes to the maintenance director letting them know that the sidewalks may freeze and it’s time to put salt down. This is helpful because the community not only ensures their residents’ safety but they are able to use their salt only when it’s necessary, rather than having to guess.

Analytics are also a great way for senior living communities to avoid loss in non-emergency scenarios. For instance, many senior living facilities provide their residents with the ability to order their meals which creates a set of data. This data can be analyzed to see what foods are preferred by residents. With this information, operators can set out to create a menu that they know will get the most residents to place orders.

For example, if steak is consistently ordered more frequently than pork, it would be beneficial to make changes to how much of each is bought and how often. With this kind of information a senior living community can make more informed purchases which will decrease spending and minimize food waste. Analyzing data this way can be used for many other situations as well, such as choosing what events, activities, or classes to put on in a senior living community.

No matter what a senior living community operator’s worries are, data and predictive analytics can help to manage them and offer peace of mind. Predictive analytics encourages operations to be proactive rather than reactive so problems can be avoided rather than dealt with after they’ve already happened. Not only does this help to save a senior living community money and strife, but it opens up time for other opportunities. With senior living operators’ hands tied up in so many things that need dealt with in the present, it’s hard to get a chance to work on forward facing projects, but with predictive analytics they can free up their most valuable resource: Time.

About the Author:  Amy Jeffs currently serves as Vice President of Status Solutions where she assists the Founder and President with developing and implementing the company’s overall go-to-market strategy. She has held various positions within the organization for the past 13 years. Status Solutions is a technology company that helps organizations—from health-care companies and schools to hotels and manufacturing facilities—get strategic about risk management to prevent loss of life, property, business and convenience.