Infrared cameras for thermal screening in rest homes
The elderly residents of rest homes are the group most vulnerable to COVID-19. Those aged over 85 are reported to have a fatality rate of 37% if they catch the disease. In New Zealand 16 of the 22 deaths attributed to COVID-19 are linked to rest homes.
An important part of COVID-19 management in aged residential care facilities is assessing residents and staff for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 - including fever.
Detecting people with fevers identifies those who may have contagious diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza, potentially before they know they’re infected. This prevents them from interacting with residents and staff and spreading the disease. Note: Not everyone with COVID will develop a fever but those that do have a higher viral load and are more infectious.
Ways of detecting fever include:
- Self reporting, documented with paper or online forms
- Manual temperature check with a medical thermometer (ear, mouth, forehead)
- Automatic check with thermal cameras
Of these options, thermal cameras are:
- easy to use - you just stand in front of them
- non invasive - having a forehead thermometer put close to your face is confronting
- fast - the screening is done within seconds
- un-manned - an operator only needs to respond if the camera finds someone with a fever.
- Online reporting - to allow you to easily see that the screening is happening
- Automatic alerts when a high temperature is detected.
Because thermal cameras are faster, easier and more pleasant it should be a lot easier to scan everyone.
The benefits of thermal screening go beyond the safety of your of residents and staff. By implementing a thermal screening programme you will:
- Mitigate the risks of infectious disease crippling your business
- Reduce staff sick leave
- Make families more comfortable to visit residents (when permitted)
- Increase the attractiveness of your residential aged care facility by giving confidence to prospective residents and their families that they will be safe
- Be prepared if there is another COVID outbreak in NZ
- Reduction of presenteeism – staff less likely to come in when sick if they know they’ll be scanned
The unique features of the Te Kahu Ora screening platform include:
- Manufactured in NZ
- Supported by the NZ Government via MBIE's COVID innovation fund
- NZ support by the people who developed camera.
- Backed by a social enterprise: profits will benefit NZ native birds.
- Thermal reference provides increased accuracy (<0.3°) and reliability in a range of environments.
- Output available on multiple screens – receptionist can monitor if needed
- No personal data collected, but with anonymised reporting
- Open source technology – no licence fees, source code available
- Un-manned operation with alerts
- Fast (1-2 seconds) and non-invasive
- Online reporting of temperatures measured
- Automated email alerts when a high temperature is detected.
- Active development of personal temperature profiles and research into techniques for estimating the body temperature of people exposed to the cold.
"I can see more and more aged care providers putting more of this type of technology at their doorways, possibly for a long time," Norah Barlow, CEO of Heritage Lifecare
Check out this Newshub story about George Manning Rest Home in Christchurch using the thermal camera. Note the thermal camera technology has advanced significantly from when this story was recorded.
Find out more about the Te Kahu Ora thermal cameras