The benefits of keyless entry systems in care homes
According to a 2021 survey by CareHome.co.uk, there are almost 18,000 care homes across the UK that are home to almost 500,000 people and employ just shy of one million staff – 696,340 to be exact.
An ageing population is an indication of what many of us know to be true – care homes and assisted living facilities are under pressure, with staff and external care providers focussed on providing the highest level of care that maintains the health, safety and wellbeing of residents.
As with many traditional settings, there is a desire to modernise elements of infrastructure and automate processes, such as replacing mechanical lock and keys with keyless entry systems, also known as keyless access control systems.
The automation that these digital solutions offer, allow staff to focus their time and effort on delivering a high level of care, removing the risk associated with lost or stolen keys, or doors left unlocked, while also affording residents and their families peace of mind that they are in an environment that is centred around their safety and wellbeing.
What are keyless entry systems?
Keyless entry systems are electronic door security systems, that are also often referred to by a myriad of other terms, including ‘access control systems’ and ‘digital locking systems’. Essentially, they are a highly secure combination of technology and hardware that remove the need for traditional lock and keys.
Our article Keyless Door Lock Systems goes into more detail around the working of these systems, but in essence these systems are a connected network of keyless locks that are activated when preprogramed key cards, fobs or transponders are presented.
While of course, these mediums can be lost or stolen, the beauty of digital systems means that the safety and security of the facility isn’t jeopardised - authorisation on these cards can be instantly revoked using the central platform used to control the system. Not only does this drastically minimise risk, but it also mitigates the costs associated with replacing mechanical locks.
Are keyless systems safer than traditional locks?
Care homes present a unique set of requirements, and the meaning of ‘safety and security’ can take on many shapes and forms – but keyless entry is aligned with them all.
Keyless systems provide a higher level of security and safety, from a physical sense, whereby access rights can be amended, limited and revoked completely, instantly and in real time – but also in the data the systems collect.
These systems provide accurate audit trails. Each access log is recorded for every user and can provide an accurate record of movements and access from internal and external doors to maintenance rooms and drug cabinets.
Infection control is something high on the agenda when it comes to care environments and facilities. While door handles still require physical touch, the act of not sharing keys and restricting access can play acritical role when it comes to infection control.
We often encounter concerns and questions when it comes to the installation of keyless entry systems – particularly in relation to the internal doors of a care home or assisted living facility. Keyless systems can be installed into older buildings, and of course – into new facilities.
These environments are a home – first and foremost, and staff want to ensure minimal disruption when it comes to noise, mess and new faces coming in and out of the building to preserve the mindfulness and wellbeing of residents.
Configuration of the system generally takes place before the installation of the hardware. This is beneficial for two reasons:
1. The doors are ready to use as soon as they are installed.
2. The configuration can take place away from the facility, meaning even less disturbance.
Once the configuration takes places, our team are always on hand to provide support and assistance.
Our keyless door locks are compatible with most doors, and existing locks can be replaced quickly – without drilling – which also means without the associated noise, mess, damage and general disturbances.
How does a keyless entry system benefit staff and residents of care homes?
Its no secret that as we age, our fine motor skills and mobility can suffer, and overall strength and co-ordination can decline, and everyday tasks can become obstacles. These environments are crying out for doors that can be unlocked easily, without the difficulties that can occur when entering a key into a lock.
The same logic can be applied to urgent situations whereby staff may need to unlock multiple doors to reach a resident – keyless systems remove the constraints association with traditional locking systems.
In people-centric environments such as care homes, any systems that can offer automation relieves an element of burden and allows staff to focus on the sole purpose of their job – delivering a high standard of care.
By programming access rights that correlate to an individual’s position, seniority and even shift pattern or visiting hours, staff are no longer required to encounter cumbersome activities such as constantly providing access, manually signing keys in and out or remembering to change keypad combinations on a regular basis.
Increased control, visibility and security
Keys can be lost, stolen but perhaps more frightening – keys can be copied, and present a very real threat should they end up in the hands of those with ill intent.
Removing the use of keys removes associated risks and reduces threat level. Having the ability to control from a high level, the access that individuals have to areas of a building, and even restricting the times they have access – greatly improves the level of security, control and visibility of the care home.
What’s more, should you ever need it – audit trails provide evidence of who entered which door, at which time.
Keyless entry systems offer a number of opportunities for cost efficiencies to be made. An obvious one is eliminating costs associated with replacing locks should keys be lost or stolen, or through general wear and tear.
The average cost of changing a lock is £59 per door during working hours, or £107 per door outside of normal working hours. Fixing a lock ranges from £71 to £107 per door.
Should multiple locks need changing – this soon stacks up, and there is no guarantee that it won’t have to be carried out multiple times.
Our keyless entry systems do not require hard wiring. This means that the cost is a quarter of a hard-wired access control system. This also means that they do not require costly power to provide security.
Looking for some further information around keyless entry systems in a care home or assisted living environment? We created a comprehensive guide that can be downloaded here.