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The Courier Mail – Homegrown hi-tech keeps tabs on elderly

A local solution is being rolled out to monitor Queensland nursing home residents to ensure they don’t go walkabout and are being cared for adequately.

Families of nursing home residents are using revolutionary new tracking devices developed by a Gold Coast company to keep watch on their vulnerable loved ones and make sure they are being properly cared for.

Tiny sensors built into pendants or watches worn by residents – and into staff swipe cards – are also being used for everything from COVID-19 contact tracing to ensuring nurses are washing their hands properly.

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The cutting-edge technology is being rolled out as coronavirus cuts a deadly swath through nursing homes and huge flaws in the aged care are laid bare by the royal commission.

Coast-based HSC (HomeStay Care) Technology Group is behind the next-generation monitoring aimed at keeping residents safe and improving the quality of aged care.

The company embeds Bluetooth modules in items such as emergency button pendants and building access cards, connected to ceiling “gateways” that gather data on the movements of residents, staff and visitors.

“These Bluetooth modules ‘ping’ every three to five seconds to the gateways, which triangulate the location of someone or something in the building,” HSC managing director Graham Russell said.

Data is crunched using artificial intelligence algorithms to provide critical information for aged care operators, staff and families.

“For example, we can show on a family ‘dashboard’ how many times a nurse has been looking after their loved one today,” Mr Russell said.

“We can see if a nurse or carer has walked by a hand sanitiser or sink and not washed their hands, and monitor sleeping, eating, bathing and toilet activities.

“We then use this data to provide proactive alerts if we identify any health anomalies.”

Mr Russell said the system could be used for COVID contact tracing in aged care facilities and for germ control by checking visitor credentials and restricting access.

It can also provide alerts about wandering or violent dementia patients.

Hundreds of Bluetooth gateways have been installed in the new Odyssey House aged care home at Robina on the

Gold Coast, while homes in South Australia are also using the technology.

“A huge part of the aged care royal commission is all about increasing transparency and accountability to eliminate elder abuse,” Mr Russell said.

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