Residential care homes have a responsibility to ensure that the health and wellbeing of their residents remain of paramount importance. This is something which is constantly under review at Plejecenter Skovhuset. Among one of the leading Danish care homes, it provides excellent care facilities for over 100 residents via its team of 140 employees.

The challenges

Plejecenter Skovhuset recently moved to a brand new facility in order to welcome more residents to inviting surroundings. The building was constructed to accommodate a variety of supportive technological solutions. In the old home, the level of technology was minimal.

Hanne Jensen, Development Nurse & Technology Group Leader at Plejecenter Skovhuset, commented on the lack of previous technologies and the challenges they provided: “Our previous fall prevention methods included a falling mat and bed sensors – which were both insufficient and difficult to use. We therefore required a more integrated approach.”

Elsi® Smart Floor was the appropriate solution

When planning initially began for the new care home facility, technology was a pertinent topic for discussion. Resident numbers were set to double from 59 to 104 when Plejecenter Skovhuset opened, and to ensure that the needs of the residents and their family were met, forward-thinking, technology-based solutions were needed to support the staff. MariCare’s Elsi® Smart Floor was deemed an appropriate solution to help meet the various challenges.

Elsi® Smart Floor is a monitoring system which prevents and detects falls. A layer of flooring which can be fitted underneath regular flooring, this piece of technology can alert staff to the exact location of each fall via a mobile device. With this piece of technology, Plejecenter Skovhuset were able to offer a new level of care, as each member of staff were able to be at the right place at the right time.

The Elsi® Smart Floor contains sensors that alert care home employees when a resident has fallen. These sensors, not dissimilar to the same technology behind touchpad and tablet computers, can also monitor the movement of residents around their flat.

For Plejecenter Skovhuset, installing Elsi® Smart Floor was a crucial consideration, and therefore after just five months of the new care home being open, the full Elsi® Smart Floor solution was implemented in every resident’s flat. Although the implementation of the Elsi® Smart Floor was one of the most essential pieces of technology in the care home, it wasn’t the only solution that was installed. Among some of the technologies installed were flush and dry toilets, a ceiling lift system and Wi-Fi alarm bracelets.

The implementation

This totally new facility had set a date for its residents to move into the care home, and so the installation of the Elsi® Smart Floor had to be timely. Jensen added: “Getting the technologies working was a quick and easy process and caused no fuss.” A technological and intricate solution, training took place to ensure that the staff were able to maximise the floor’s potential. For the staff at Plejecenter Skovhuset, the training was designed and executed to be easily understood, with a number of super-users being given the vital information regarding the technologies; details which were then transferred to other staff members. Jensen added: “A number of super-users were provided with extensive training, covering all aspects of the innovative technological solution. If a problem arose, the super-users were aware of the support available, and MariCare was highly responsive to any issues.”

Co-operation between the team of super-users and MariCare was crucial to the system’s success, and MariCare also ensured that follow-up training took place: “Since the system’s implementation in January 2014, training refresher courses have taken place to remind staff of how to get the most out of the system for their residents,” Jensen added.

Elsi® Smart Floor improves quality of life for residents and is a time-saving solution for care home employees

The impact that the implementation of technology has had on the care home has been great. Falls can have catastrophic consequences for residents and their relatives in care homes, but with the Elsi® Smart Floor, it is able to detect a fall immediately. The second a fall occurs, a signal is sent directly to the relevant members of staff. Jensen comments: “Residents feel much safer and secure knowing that no fall will go unnoticed. Relatives also feel reassured that reliable care is available around the clock.”

The sensors in the Elsi® Smart Floor can also detect every time a resident visits the toilet, or simply gets up and out of bed during the night, so behaviour can be easily monitored where required. This monitoring has also proven to be beneficial for care home staff, who can now uncover any unusual resident behaviour which would otherwise go unnoticed. Jensen explains “One particular resident in the care home was becoming increasingly angry and tired during the day, making him particularly vulnerable to regular falls. However, with the Elsi® Smart Floor solution, we were able to watch back footage of the resident in his flat, which revealed that he was spending large periods of time at night walking around the flat and not sleeping. We were therefore aware that he was awake for most of the night, and could help him work on improving his sleep pattern.”

Installing the smart floor has been particularly beneficial for dementia sufferers, which make up over half of the total population at Plejecenter Skovhuset. Those suffering with dementia are often unable to realise that they need to press a button and raise the alarm after a fall and in situations where they require assistance, which is why this responsive smart floor solution is crucial as it alerts staff to resident activity immediately.

Jensen also revealed the residents’ surprise after being told of the implementation of the flooring, as they didn’t even notice it was there. “Almost every resident I spoke to following the implementation commented on the succinct integration of the system. For us it was crucial that residents felt that we weren’t invading their privacy by installing this system. With resident’s quality of life, independence and safety as main concerns, it has been an ideal solution.”

Time-management improves for care home staff

The Elsi® Smart Floor hasn’t just impacted residents. Since its implementation, care home staff are more aware of exactly where they need to be, and when. “We’ve managed to cut down our night watches from five to four each day, meaning our nurses have more time to dedicate themselves to residents who require that extra bit of attention, effectively improving time management”, comments Jensen.

Having care homes which are intuitive and technologically focussed has had a wider impact too. At Plejecenter Skovhuset, when a fall occurs, residents may require hospital treatment. However, Jensen has found that for certain residents, once an operation has taken place, recuperation is more beneficial within the care home grounds than that of a hospital. “A hospital is unable to provide 24/7 surveillance and be quite as vigilant as this piece of technology can, consequently relieving pressure on hospital resources. Not only that, but particularly with dementia sufferers, they crave a routine, so being able to return to Plejecenter Skovhuset, the place they call home, is particularly crucial.”

Everyone wins with the implementation of Elsi® Smart Floor

An intuitive, forward-thinking solution with the resident’s needs at the forefront, Plejecenter Skovhuset is pleased with its investment, according to Jensen: “An innovative, time-saving solution with innumerable benefits, we wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this piece of technology. It is now a reliable member of the care team, and is always present to assist in the care of our residents.”

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