Aged Care is pressing ahead with modernisation in their ICT and Wi-Fi is a major part of the mix.
The ability to provide a lot of services - quickly deploying new services - as well as enabling mobility are major draw cards for Aged Care. Let's take a look at what this means.
Aged Care needs to support a range of use cases. The staff are mobile and increasingly need to be able to use mobile devices, such as tablets and smart phones. The residents want to be able to connect Netflix, internet and communicate with their relatives over video calls.
These are just a couple of use cases - let's take a look at a fuller list in the next section.
Use Cases for Wi-Fi in Aged Care
The good news is that once you've installed your network is that there's a whole host of services the network can support.
Let's start with the obvious ones:
- Corporate Laptops: Staff need to have their work devices and most of these are likely to be laptops
- BYOD: Support for staff, residents, visitors and clinicians to have base internet access
- Voice: Increasingly Wi-Fi is replacing DECT as the go-to technology for voice. Why would this be? The prime reason is that with Wi-Fi you can enable the use of smartphones - these can have barcode readers for medication management, phone lists, apps and duress functions - must more feature rich than the equivalent DECT phone
Aged Care is evolving and medication management, as well as the potential use of other BioMedical technologies. This leads us to the next category:
- Potential Clinical Devices: Patient monitors, wearable clinical devices, etc
In terms of next use cases, making the best of assets is a key requirement. Important equipment gets lost, frequently moved around, leading to buying more of a certain type of asset than is really required.
This doesn't take into account the time spent in locating the equipment in question - or the expense in not having it in use more often. The next use case then is:
- Asset Tracking: Wheelchairs beds, staff, duress, wandering dementia patients
Asset tracking is also only one use case that makes use of location of people and objects. This can also be applied to applications such as task management and wayfinding, to name a couple.
Aged Care Resident Wi-Fi
In addition to all the regulatory requirements, Aged Care is of course competing for residents.
As we all age, we all want to live in aged care that has at least some technology at our disposal and Wi-Fi is that sort of enabling technology.
The first in the Aged Care Resident wish list is:
- Resident Wi-Fi: Deliver the same experience residents used to have at home, being able to connect their devices
- Allow for small private networks to connect all their devices securely together
Wi-Fi of course as an enabler provides the opportunity for a wide array of entertainment services - which is really what the residents want to use. Let's take a look at this use case:
- Internet enabled TVs for Netflix etc
- Both residents and shared areas
With our ever connected lifestyles, we could also support smart devices.
These are typically voice activated, which could be especially attractive - the ability to play music, turn devices on and off and connect smart-home style equipment, could provide real convenience. This use case is:
- Assistant Devices:
- Google Home / Alexia etc
- Increasing AP Density
- Wi-Fi Surveys (Overview to the various types of RF Surveys)
- Wi-Fi Phone Dropouts
- Wi-Fi Surveys
External Wi-Fi in Aged Care
This is about providing a lot of convenience to continue to use the same devices, but outdoors.
Important note is that when Wi-Fi is designed for outdoors that location accuracy tends to decrease.
If you have Wi-Fi phones in use, the external coverage needs to take this in to account, to ensure that the network can deliver a voice-grade level of Wi-Fi, even in outdoors areas.
Aged Care Wi-Fi: Summary
Hopefully this roundup of where you can use Wi-Fi in an aged care setting has been of use.
There's an increasing amount of regulatory requirements for aged care, and enabling mobility for staff and residents is a major tool in assisting the workforce in doing their jobs and the residents enjoying their stay.
With an increasingly mobile staff, there are more and more applications, such as bedside food ordering, medication management and prescription, and a host of others.
The future is bright with the technology landscape for aged care - the first step is to deploy a reliable Wi-Fi network to support these applications - fortunately we can help you there.
A technology rollout and upgrade is always a journey - hopefully this blog has been of some use in that journey!