Introducing the long-term care home in Windsor, Ontario, with zero COVID-19 outbreaks
In EAIGLE’s webinar, Senior Housing: Building the Foundation for Long-Term Safety, Vino Patel discussed the measures he took to transform his long-term care home into a facility that survived 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic without a single outbreak.
After hearing the news about a viral infection in Wuhan, China, last year, Vino and his administrator, Lisa, took action immediately. They deployed strict lockdown measures and assigned staff members to take residents’ temperatures regularly.
“We had a complete lockdown. Nobody was allowed to go out. If they needed to go out, we needed to know where they were going and who they were going to see,” he said. “And I think that saved us a lot of problems.”
In a home of about 85 residents and 10 to 12 employees like Bruce Villa Manor, each manual temperature screening would take an hour, which means that going through this process three times a day would require several hours. Plus, the time spent on other wellness checks.
As Vino flipped through the Windsor Star newspaper one day, a story about DataRealm’s temperature-sensing device captured his attention.
The software used in the device was developed in partnership with EAIGLE, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and computer-vision-based technology to automate temperature screenings and wellness checks—the exact solution that Vino was looking for.
“If you think of the auto industry, where you have 1,500 people on a shift at a time, how long does it take if each one has to stop for 15 to 60 seconds for a thermal scan?” said Amir Hoss, the CEO of EAIGLE, in an interview with the Windsor Star.
Vino was interested to understand how EAIGLE and DataRealm’s technology can streamline his facility’s daily operations and requested to see a demo with Dave Fortin, the CEO of DataRealm.
“I really liked it and thought it was something that we could definitely use in our facility,” he said. “It would reduce some of the costs that were involved with us doing daily temperatures…and this would be perfect so we could monitor everyone’s temperature 24/7 without even doing anything.”
“The beauty of it is that we can walk away from it and let the system handle [everything],” he said. “It takes the burden off of our employees and puts it on the system; it works great.”
Vino was initially only interested in deploying the crowd monitoring system in his facility to track the in-and-outs of Bruce Villa Manor’s residents and staff.
When he saw the quick rise of COVID-19 cases in Canada, Vino expanded the technology to handle thermal screening as well.
“This is what we need moving forward,” he said. “We need to implement a solution that is practical and something that we can have in our facility.”
Since its deployment, Vino has also updated the infrastructure to detect face masks and automate contact tracing.
“There’s a lot of flexibility that the system can offer,” he said. “That’s what I like about it; we can expand it to do a few more things that we want in our facility.”
Investing in scalable technology is crucial when it comes to proactive planning.
The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an unprecedented event that accelerated technology development to aid in saving millions of lives. However, it won’t be the last global health crisis.
In an interview with BBC, Eric Fevre, a professor from the University of Liverpool, said that pandemics are going to be more frequent.
“New diseases pop up in the human population probably three to four times per year,” he said. “This kind of event is likely to happen again and again.”
Long-term care homes in Ontario were hit hardest during the pandemic. As of December 12 last year, 63 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in Ontario have come from long-term care home residents.
“The elderly and care home staff are among the most at-risk people experiencing high levels of stress and exposure to COVID-19 during the pandemic,” said Amir. “Crowd monitoring provides a strong foundation in safety monitoring and infection control in the facilities we care for loved ones.”
In his experience of managing long-term care homes, Vino saw how outbreaks are going to be more common and knew the importance of a proactive approach when combating a pandemic.
“The sooner you realize that this is how it is now, the sooner…you can bring solutions to the table,” he said. “I can’t overemphasize [enough] that you have to be proactive; you cannot wait for things to happen.”