Care home track & trace technology lauded as Covid game-changer

The launch of what is claimed to be the UK’s first visual track and trace technology for care homes has been heralded as a game-changer in the fight against Covid-19.

Digital care technology specialist ENS’s PinGo electronic badges are the first to offer real-time flashing image alerts and vibrations to staff, visitors and residents in care homes if they enter a ‘red zone’ of less than two metres from another person. 

If someone tests positive for Covid-19, PinGo produces a ‘rapid test’ list - ranking those most at risk of possible infection – that enables care homes to send instant alert messages to listed staff and contact visitors. 

The tailor-made system is being used by a number of leading care home operators, including Dormy Care, which praised the technology as a “game-changer” in helping to reduce the spread and rate of infection of Covid-19. 

Helen Davies-Parsons, chief executive of Dormy Care Communities, which operates four luxury homes in England and Wales, said: “We are thrilled to be using the new PinGo technology in Foxhunters Care Community in Wales. 

“With our aim to provide the highest possible infection control standards across all of our Dormy Care Communities, this takes it to another level and could be a real game-changer. We are extremely happy with the results so far.” 

Between 10 April and 2 October, 14,355 residents died in care homes according to data from the Care Quality Commission, with weekly deaths continuing to increase. 

As the government encourages care homes to provide safe visiting opportunities, PinGo is helping homes to open their doors to visitors, with some across the country having been closed for over eight months. 

The badges worn by staff, visitors and some residents not only help enforce two metres social distancing but also identify precisely where in a care home a badge-wearer goes, who they come into contact with, at what distance, and for how long. 

The badges’ accuracy to within 50cms also allows for extra monitoring such as visits to hand-washing stations. 

Gary Woods of ENS, which designed and developed the technology in response to the pandemic, said: “When coronavirus hit care homes and we saw the devastating impact it was having we worked quickly to adapt our systems to react to distancing requirements, testing needs and contract tracing to create this cutting-edge technology.” 

He added: “Our rapid test feature allows operators to have a rolling list of who needs a rapid test so they’re able to get staff tested as soon as possible with the aim of keeping staff working in the knowledge they’re negative. 

“The alternative is either staff having to continually isolate, creating additional costs and inconvenience, or every member of staff having to be tested every day which again is costly and an administrative burden. PinGo is a cost-effective way for operators to keep staff working safely by giving them confidence in their role and by also reducing costs associated with isolation and cover.”

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