How RTLS Can Empower Mental Health Facility Residents

By Bob Hampe

The number of custody-based and residential mental health facilities has increased significantly over the past several years, owing in part to changing attitudes regarding behavioral health and different approaches to treatment. 

Despite an evolving understanding of how to best serve an often-vulnerable population, funding can be tight, meaning most facilities operate with somewhat limited staff. Even more: Many of these facilities serve a wide array of patients of all ages and backgrounds, and with all varieties of mental health challenges and histories. 

Such environments are complex to manage and unique in many ways, which can make finding the right vendors difficult for administrative staff—especially when it comes to procuring the best real-time locating system (RTLS) that meets all the needs of the facility. 

The right RTLS solution for inpatient mental health facilities can lessen staff workloads, increase safety and improve morale of both staff and residents through empowerment. Here’s how this important investment can optimize your facility operations: 

Typical RTLS Applications in Mental Health Facilities 

RTLS is principally used in mental health facilities for its staff safety capabilities—should a violent, or potentially violent, encounter arise between a patient and a staff member (or between residents), staff need to easily, accurately and discreetly call for assistance. 

Other applications for RTLS include tracking of people and assets. In most facilities, patients far outnumber staff members working on any particular shift. Patient tracking in mental health facilities allows for a greater degree of visibility into resident movements without the need for direct supervision, which can be agitating for residents and taxing on staff. Knowing where people are, with precision, offers meaningful insight regarding behaviors, schedules and more.
Unfortunately, many RTLS systems used in this sort of facility fall short in their level of accuracy, devaluing the investment in the technology. Some rely on WiFi, triangulation or other methods that are subject to disruption or delay, meaning duress signals aren’t transmitted properly, and staff or resident locations can be off by entire floors.

Actall’s RTLS Solutions for Complex Physical Environments

Where other RTLS providers can’t deliver, at Actall we thrive. Our patented dual-band tracking technology, custom locator density and advancements in signal propagation mean we excel in complex physical environments such as mental health facilities. 

To help ensure staff and resident safety, we’ve worked hard to create the fastest, most accurate duress solution available using inconspicuous, ubiquitous tags that ping at regular intervals. Our RTLS solution offers maximum visibility and accuracy to optimize your facility’s operations and safety ratings. 

Because these applications are so flexible across a facility and offer clarity into residents’ locations, staffers can spend less time on direct supervision—leading to more patient empowerment. One of our clients, the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, is building out an entire program based on allowing residents more personal freedom as they manage their own meds, cook their meals and stick to their own schedules—all with the help of Actall RTLS. 

Research data show, consistently, that post-treatment reintegration into society is made much easier with this type of approach to care within a facility. Providing patients a sense of empowerment and purpose contributes to their long-term success. 

RTLS is an excellent tracking and duress tool, yes. But it also has the power to positively impact outcomes of all kinds, in even the most challenging of environments. 

Learn more about how RTLS technology is utilized in complex physical environments.