Located in Tampa Bay, FL, Skynet Healthcare Technologies provides complete smart-tech solutions to the senior living industry. Skynet offers a wide range of services, including:
Their Real Time Location System (RTLS) features:
Known as a technology innovator, Mr. Rokicki is committed to creating intelligent healthcare technologies. He is especially dedicated to making smart-tech applications in the senior care sector. He has two decades of experience in software product development and a natural tendency toward leadership. Through his extensive experience, he gained comprehension of business, and the capacity to recognize the unique needs of clients. He is considered a pioneer in the implementation of cutting-edge technologies which significantly improve the lives of seniors.
Chief Technology Officer
Mr. Lehto supervises Skynet’s technological vision, architecture, development, and execution. He is responsible for all facets of technology and implementation of Skynet’s products and services. He has acquired over 20 years of information tech and organizational management experience. Most notably, he has led technology organizations to success by leveraging technology, process, cost efficiency, and a customer-centric culture.
We selected Skynet primarily because of their incredible innovative technologies. This forward thinking company has impacted senior housing in tremendous ways. They are quickly gaining recognition as a solid organization with the ability to lead the way for other tech advancements.
Ensuring the safety of residents is a daunting task for many community operators, especially for those handling memory care. Skynet's wander management and keyless entry systems allow security levels to reach heights beyond anything we have previously seen in the industry. Family members, caregivers, community operators and managers, can all breathe a little easier knowing that these systems are in place.
We intend to continue watching this company grow and provide cutting-edge technology that enhances the lives of seniors. Few organizations have this type of “out-of-the-box” thinking. To say that this company is innovative is likely an understatement. They constantly work to improve on existing systems and the latest technological advancements. They bring to the market new tech applications that are much needed in the senior housing industry. As community operators embrace new systems, we expect Skynet to continue leading the way.
The Skynet website has a lot of useful information about their products and services. You can schedule a demonstration directly from the site, They also include in-depth explanations of what their system does, and how it supports senior living communities. This is a great resource if you are interested in Skynet and want to learn more about the company. They clearly list all relevant contact info as well. Click the photo to the right to be taken to the Skynet Healthcare Technology site.
Advancement of Emergency Call
In a discussion between Skynet CEO Martin Rokicki and Steve Moran of Senior Housing Forum, Rokicki explained the evolution of emergency call systems. He described RTLS as the next logical step in the advancement of these systems. However, while it is widely implemented in healthcare, senior care is slower to use RTLS due to its typically high-cost and large scope of installation. But Skynet has built an affordable and sustainable RTLS platform.
Some community operators are reluctant to embrace new technologies. Change creates anxiety, and we understand that notion. However, if we intend to keep pace with the needs of the growing senior population, we must be willing to look at new systems. Perhaps taking a closer look at the issue of elopement will shine some light on the importance of RTLS in today’s senior housing market.
Senior elopement is one of the many challenges of caregivers. Though the term “elopement” should not be confused with that of running away to get married, elopement in nursing homes still has something to do with escape.
In this case, senior citizens “escape” nursing homes when they are left unsupervised and wander off to unknown places. As a result, most of the elderly who “elope” may be in danger. They may get physically hurt, get lost, or even end up in a fatal accident.
Causes of Elopement
A senior resident’s mental and physical faculties are the main causes of elopement. Even though the elderly do not manifest signs that they will elope, it is still important for the caregivers to watch out for such signals.
1. Mental impairment – Senior residents who are mentally impaired and have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are most likely to elope. They are able to walk freely without the aid of wheelchairs since most of them do not suffer from any mobile-related disability. They may forget where they are or think that they need to look for a missing loved one or pet, which is why they wander. Others may just be curious by nature and walk off without a destination in mind.
2. Behavioral issues – Some senior residents may experience behavioral issues such as personality changes, irritability, and even hostility. It could be due to their mental impairment, depression, or resentment in being sent to a nursing facility.
When these residents exhibit behavioral issues, caregivers may have difficulty in restraining or dealing with them. As a result, they may escape from the facility and try to go home where they believe they belong.
3. Staff negligence – In rare cases, some caregivers may become negligent. In senior care facilities where there aren’t enough staff, some caregivers may become so overworked that they may overlook or neglect some of the residents.
The staff’s attitude towards the resident also plays a huge factor and could result to negligence. For example, caregivers may avoid hostile, unpleasant, and cranky patients. Thus, all caregivers must be properly trained to respond immediately to emergencies and address the residents’ needs, as well as learn how to deal with antagonistic seniors.
4. Understaffing – As mentioned, a senior care facility may not have enough personnel. In some cases, a caregiver may be busy attending to a resident and so could not immediately respond to a door alarm.
The Detrimental Effects of Elopement
Senior residents who elope face plenty of risks. Some elopements may even result to death from accident.
1. Sickness and injury – Exposure to extreme heat and cold poses dangers to their frail condition. They may contract hypothermia, heatstroke, fever, or physical injury.
They may also wander off into construction areas, bodies of water, or even in the middle of the highway.
2. Death – Sadly, there are senior residents who are unable to make it back. They could be victims of a fatal accident such as drowning, vehicle collision, or dangerous falls, among others. Some even succumb to heart attacks due to stressful conditions, especially if they have been wandering for a few days and have been unable to rest, drink, and/or eat — thus putting them in danger of life-threatening starvation, dehydration, and extreme fatigue.
3. Added costs – Insurance claims as a result of elopement are becoming more common. According to a 2016 insurance report, the top reason for insurance claims is death, which was about 45% of all cases. Fractures were approximately 34% of the claims.
How to Prevent Elopement in Senior Facilities
While elopement in senior facilities may not occur often, senior care facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living communities must still take great pains to prevent such from happening.
Here are some recommendations to manage the risks that could lead to elopement:
1. Better staff-to-resident ratio – Although there is no standard rule set by the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), the recommended ratio is 1 staff to 5 residents during the day, and 1 staff to 10 residents at night. ALFA is flexible with the staffing for each facility, provided that there must be a sufficient number of personnel to address the residents’ needs and wants and be present in case of emergencies. Naturally, the requirements are stricter in memory care facilities and nursing homes where the elderly need special medical attention.
2. Fail-safe exits – All senior care facilities must ensure that all doors are locked or equipped with security alarms. In one Canadian nursing home, the exits were disguised as bookshelves so that residents would not be able to escape and at the same time not become distressed due to confinement.
3. A homey design and layout – In addition to camouflaged exits, the nursing home should be a warm, comforting, and safe haven for residents. Most facilities allow seniors to bring personal items from home so they would feel less homesick.
The government of New Brunswick, Canada even came up with a recommended plan in decorating and designing nursing homes. The design comes complete with multi-function rooms for rest and relaxation, group activities, and even hobbies. The bathrooms and meal areas were also specially designed to ensure safety.
4. Proper training and education – Staff and family members must be educated on caring for cognitive-impaired residents. While signs of elopement may not be noticeable, staff and family members should still watch out for signs of dementia and behavioral issues to prevent elopement. It is advisable that they document such observations and reach out to management for intervention.
5. Regular inspection and assessment – Facilities must conduct routine assessments to make sure that all exits and door alarms are in good working order. Windows must also be checked if they are sealed properly in case a resident uses it as a means of escape.
Assess the risks among residents and document these observations. Conduct safety rounds and staff inspection and ensure that all staff adhere to the safety regulations.
6. Increased monitoring of residents – New residents must be placed in areas where the staff can closely monitor them. Caregivers must be well-trained to be observant of habits and document them to determine possible signs of mental impairment which may lead to elopement.