To help keep virus out and residents safe, a senior living facility turns to tech

To help keep virus out and residents safe, a senior living facility turns to tech

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - At One Kalakaua Senior Living in Makiki, there are strict protocols in place to protect more than 100 staff and nearly 190 residents.

The facility also says it’s the first to install high-tech devices with two-levels of screening.

After an initial in-person screening, approved workers and essential visitors get into the building after asking a series of question on an iPad.

“The computer does all the asking of the questions and then it’s automatically documented so that piece is done on the iPad. If there’s the wrong answer then the front desk security gets an alert,” said Michelle Kakazu, executive director at One Kalakaua.

Besides contact with COVID-19, recent travelers from the neighbor islands are not allowed.

The second level of screening is the facility's new thermal scanner. A person stands in front of it and gets checked for their temperature and a mask.

Staff is alerted in the building if there's a fever or the person is not wearing a mask.

Kakazu says One Kalakaua spent $14,000 for iPads and thermal scanners at five entry points.

She says the technology is helpful since staff members were stretched thin and doing the screening in person. Now, everything is computerized.

"If we are to have a positive case, we really need to be able to present contact tracing information," she said.

With growing numbers of cases, those who care for kupuna are especially worried and say they can't afford to let their guard down.

“It’s really starting to get scary. I think we are especially concerned with employees bringing it in,” said geriatrician Dr. Albert Yazawa, the facility’s medical director. He’s also the long-term care lead for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

In addition to the new technology, he says it’s important to balance safety and well-being.

The facility now allows family to visit loved ones outside of the building to stave off social isolation, depression and weight loss.

"I think we have to balance protecting our residents, but ensuring that we keep their mental health healthy," said Yazawa.

For residents Reginald and Judith Young, they've got no problem with the new protocols.

“They seem to work. We haven’t had an incidents of the virus here. Everyone seems to be healthy,” Reginald Young said.

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