As more and more services and apps are developed for care homes requiring internet connectivity, care homes may be wondering if their current Wi-Fi network is up to scratch. And it’s not just services that need connectivity, of course, residents require robust wireless Internet connections to communicate with their friends and family, as well as enjoy all the leisure applications that the web has to offer.
Prospective residents rate access to a good internet connection above access to a garden, so the return from good connectivity can be immediate in terms of marketing.
“Two recent surveys reveal that Wi-Fi is top of the agenda when it comes to lifestyle priorities for those looking for a care home, ahead of green spaces even. This wouldn’t be so remarkable if it wasn’t for the fact that most care homes don’t offer Wi-Fi: only 1 in 5 do so, according to Citizens Advice,” says Joe Burnell, Director at wireless Internet specialists, Vital Wifi. “And where it is installed, you have to question how fit for purpose it is,” he adds.
“It’s surprising how often we find domestic Wi-Fi in a care home. This often won’t have filtering, has dead spots and has no bandwidth reserved for essential services.”
But even business-grade Wi-Fi can be inappropriate for a care home and can involve a major investment when it really doesn’t have to, says Burnell. “A dedicated care home Wi-Fi system such as SeniorConnect can be funded from operational expenses and doesn’t require a big set up, like many other systems.”
Vital Wifi has launched SeniorConnect, a dedicated Wi-Fi system and service for care homes enabling better safety, improved well-being and greater productivity and ability to integrate with patient-centred technology and automation systems. SeniorConnect has a network management software layer that sits on top of all the connectivity that is configured to your care home needs. It allows you to manage your connectivity, Vital Wifi to monitor it and your technology providers to integrate with it.
No other Wi-Fi network management system has the feature set provided by SeniorConnect.
The advantage of SeniorConnect is that it is designed for what care homes actually need. It is safe (it is accredited by government-initiated Friendly WiFi which ensures a safe experience), provides 100% coverage – inside and out – and is very reliable with 24/7 remote monitoring.
“We don’t just install it and go. With the SeniorConnect software we can detect if an access point goes down and can fix it, usually remotely, so there is very little downtime,” says Burnell.
Wi-Fi over Gardens
‘Fast Wi-Fi/broadband’ topped the list of what’s important, ahead of ‘gardens’, in findings published by The Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) where it concluded ‘Older people shun pools and spas in favour of Wi-Fi and greenery when it comes to retirement living’. Similar findings were reported by the Daily Express in a survey by housing provider Anchor which found that Wi-Fi is one of the biggest factors in selecting a retirement home.
Critical for both residents and management
Care home Wi-Fi needs to provide for both residents – including their family visitors – and the demands of ‘technology enabled care solutions’ (TECS) which will inevitably become standard in care homes as advances in ‘person-centred’ care and wireless technology explode and costs reduce.
Before care homes rush to install Wi-Fi, they may wish to take stock as to what features they should have. Getting it wrong may be a costly mistake.
Vital Wifi’s SeniorConnect is being featured at the Innovative Care Exhibition in Exeter, 13 March, and also at The Dementia Care & Nursing Home Expo at the NEC 26-27 March.
‘The Connected Care Home – An owner’s Guide’
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Wi-Fi Assessment Survey & Report
Vital Wifi can evaluate your existing Wi-Fi and make a bespoke recommendation for your care home. If interested, contact
t: 0333 3583111.