Physical security in UK care homes has taken giant leaps forward in recent years, reflecting both technological advancements and a deeper understanding of the unique needs of elderly residents, plus the ongoing effects of the COVID pandemic. This period has seen a shift from basic security measures to more sophisticated, resident-centred approaches. This article explores how the landscape of physical security in care homes has evolved, addressing the challenges and innovations that have shaped practices, based on input from attendees at the Care Forum…
1. Enhanced Access Control Systems
A decade ago, access control in many care homes was limited to basic locks and keys, which posed risks of unauthorised access or keys being misplaced. Modern care homes now employ advanced access control systems, including key card or fob systems, and even biometric solutions like fingerprint or facial recognition. These technologies not only bolster security but also offer ease of access for staff and authorised visitors while restricting entry to sensitive areas.
2. Integration of CCTV and Surveillance Technologies
The use of CCTV cameras has become more widespread and sophisticated in care homes. Contemporary surveillance systems offer high-resolution imaging, night vision, and the ability to monitor footage remotely. This not only enhances security but also ensures the safety and wellbeing of residents by allowing staff to respond swiftly to any incidents or emergencies.
3. Adoption of Wander Management Systems
With a growing understanding of conditions like dementia, care homes have adopted wander management systems. These systems use technology such as door sensors and wearable devices to alert staff if a resident prone to wandering is near an exit. This approach balances the need for security with the dignity and independence of residents.
4. Focus on Comprehensive Fire Safety
Fire safety has always been a critical aspect of care home security. Over the last decade, there has been a heightened focus on comprehensive fire safety strategies, encompassing not only fire alarms and extinguishers but also regular risk assessments, staff training, and clear evacuation plans. The tragic events such as the Grenfell Tower fire have further emphasised the importance of robust fire safety measures.
5. Emergence of Smart Technology
Smart technology is increasingly being integrated into the security infrastructure of care homes. This includes automated lighting, smart locks, and sensor-based alerts. Such technologies enhance security while also contributing to a more comfortable and adaptable living environment for residents.
6. Resident-Centred Security Approach
There has been a notable shift towards a more resident-centred approach to security. This means considering the physical and emotional wellbeing of residents in all security measures. It involves creating a secure environment that supports the independence of residents, respects their privacy, and offers them a sense of normality.
7. Staff Training and Awareness
Staff training in security protocols has become more rigorous. Care home staff are now regularly trained not just in emergency response but also in identifying potential security risks. This increased awareness among staff ensures a proactive approach to maintaining a secure environment.
The approach to physical security in UK care homes has evolved considerably over the past decade. Driven by technological innovations, a deeper understanding of resident needs, and heightened regulatory standards, care homes now offer a more secure, safe, and resident-friendly environment. As technology continues to advance and societal understanding of elderly care develops, these security measures are expected to become even more refined and tailored to the unique needs of care home residents.
Are you researching security solutions for your Care Home? The Care Forum can help!