Face recognition software helps aged care

Face detection technology has come a long way in recent years and offers many safety and security benefits for aged care operators and residents.

Artificial face recognition is a software that can accurately identify an individual, just like a human does.

Face recognition software was first used in fraud detection, and international travellers now use ‘smart’ passport gates without a second thought. Surveillance scans crowds and matches faces against known terrorist suspects. Casinos can spot banned patrons the moment they walk through the door. We even use facial recognition instead of a password to access our mobile phones.

As the software has become ever more sophisticated, accuracy levels for artificial face recognition is comparable to human levels, and the top algorithms can now successfully match an individual face to an image of that face 99.5 per cent of the time.

Face recognition in aged care

Now the aged care and retirement village sectors are realising the benefits of face recognition software – in their case it’s about resident safety, ease of access and reducing pressure on staff. In the future, we see that face recognition software can be integrated with Electronic Access Control (EAC) systems, to allow/disallow access based on a face, rather than an access card or fob.

This integration can open the benefits of:

  • Keep residents safe – one of the key findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was that resident safety must be paramount. Residents have differing levels of cognitive ability, which influences the areas they can or can’t access. Some can leave the premises, for example, or access the grounds, whilst others may have to remain inside to be safe, or only leave when accompanied. For facilities with a dementia wing, they need to ensure that residents stay within that area. Face recognition means that doors can be programmed so that they don’t open for residents with restricted access, and/or send an alert to staff that a restricted resident is trying to exit. Face recognition can play an important part in ensuring resident safety.
  • Ease of access – for some in the Aged Care community, keys, access cards and even fobs can be difficult to manage. Residents lose them, borrow them, or don’t have the mobility to be able to use them. Face recognition offers a much easier way of accessing their room – they can’t lose their face, after all! It offers a welcome alternative for some residents, ensuring they can access their room, and only their room, at all times.
  • Maximising care time – if staff have to manually monitor access points, or help residents into their rooms, it takes away from the time they spend caring for patients. With an automated EAC with face recognition, staff can spend more time with patients, yet still know they are going to be alerted to any issues.

In retirement villages, the primary benefit of face recognition is enhanced security – one of the facets of village life that residents’ value.

  • Ensuring resident only access – Some facilities, such as the gym, meeting rooms and restaurant, are only for residents. Face recognition integrated into the EAC restricts access to residents only, by matching the person trying to enter with a database of residents’ faces. It can also stop tailgating, by recognising that more than one person has tried to pass through the door, and sending an alert to staff.
  • Protecting staff only areas – some areas, such as a stairwell or maintenance area, may be only accessible by staff. Face recognition will allow staff access whilst barring it to residents.

Face recognition software has come a long way in recent years and has moved beyond the realms of fraud detection into safety and security for our older citizens.

Cognitec is a software company that develops market-leading face recognition technologies for enterprise and government customers around the world.

To learn more, visit the Cognitec website – https://www.cognitec.com/