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Ridgeland-based company dedicated to elder care quality

With the belief that every person has the right to age with dignity, Samarion, a privately held corporation based in Ridgeland, is dedicated to improving the quality of elder care. Samarion’s objective is to provide solutions that respect the privacy of the individual while also serving their needs. The Samarion system is the company’s innovative solution providing much needed tools for the care giver industry to achieve a higher standard of care at nursing homes and long-term specialty care facilities.

“This is a product that could make a positive difference in people’s lives,” said Samarion’s chairman and CEO Mark Rodgers. “The response from the industry has been phenomenal. Our biggest challenge has been in educating the industry on how technology can help solve problems. We want to be a partner with the staff so that they are free to do what they do best-provide care to the residents.”

Maintaining the dignity of nursing home patients while preventing injuries from falls is top priority for Samarion Inc. Samarion has developed a software program that addresses the problem of residents in nursing homes who are prone to falls. The Samarion system can notify the care giver staff when a resident is attempting to exit their bed without assistance. While it’s impossible to prevent all falls, the Samarion system gives care givers an added safety features, allowing them to be dispatched to help the resident immediately.

The main way to prevent falls in nursing homes is to discourage the patient from exiting the bed without assistance. The Samarion system provides all the tools to discourage the patient, including live or recorded audio and video feed into the resident room. In the live video feed, the care giver at the nurse’s station communicates with the resident to slow down their exit attempt and to allow enough time for the staff to reach resident’s room for assistance. Therefore, many resident injuries can be prevented and the number of falls can be lessened. As a result, nursing home residents are happier and healthier and their families have a greater peace of mind.

When a Samarion system is installed in a nursing home facility, in-room wall-mounted televisions are replaced with a flat panel HD monitor. The monitors provide a visual and audible alert to the patient. Information from the patient’s room can be streamed into the nurse’s station. If a patient tries to get out of the bed, images are wired to the nurses and they can alert the patient to wait for assistance. Actual video images of the patient aren’t sent to the nursing station. Rather, an image analysis that converts the images to information that indicates speed and distance is transferred, therefore protecting both the privacy and dignity of the patient. Response time for falls has been reduced to seconds, rather than the hours it might have been if the facility had no system, or an ineffective system, in place.

No stranger to entrepreneurism and business start-ups, Rodgers has an excellent track record in the technology industry. He helped grow SkyTel into the nation’s largest paging company, then took SmartSynch, a technology solutions firm for the utility industry, to a national level. But Samarion is where his heart is. “I’m more passionate about Samarion than anything else I’ve ever done. There are plenty of examples of industries with quality issues. Oftentimes, it takes a technology partner to come along and change that. We believe we have the technology to help solve the problems that occur in long term care and nursing home facilities.”

Samarion’s product now consists of five distinct features, in addition to SamarionPrevention, which is the Samarion nursing home fall prevention feature.

SamarionStroll enhances a resident’s self-respect by allowing the opportunity to enjoy an active, mobile life. For example, it allows a resident to wander freely onto the back porch on a summer evening. The system will only step in if the resident approaches an unsafe area such as the kitchen or an exit door facing a busy street.

The SamarionSafe feature performs several valuable functions to help promote a safe and secure atmosphere for everyone. The technology monitors all interactions with the resident in his or her room, including staff, visitors, contractors, even other residents. As a result, SamarionSafe helps eliminate the environment for abuse and neglect. Perhaps the most heart-warming aspect of the Samarion solution is the SamarionFamily feature, which opens new worlds to residents and their loved ones. For example, a resident can have a live video conference with his son’s family. He can receive a video of his granddaughter’s wedding or his grandson’s graduation. He can even enjoy digital pictures and music files.

And SamarionFacility is the reporting engine of the system. Because nursing home administrators and managers are responsible for what happens at their facility day and night, seven days a week, SamarionFacility makes their job more efficient by giving them key information they need to manage staff and contractors. Administrators and managers are able to generate an entire suite of standard and custom reports that track the time and duration of visits to residents by staff and outside contractors — with any aberrations highlighted. They can even receive real-time alerts if care tasks are not being completed. When administrators or managers are out of town, all information is available remotely.

“From a family’s perspective, Baby Boomers are starting to have to put their parents in a nursing home,” explained Rodgers. “They want a place where their parents will be safe, and treated with dignity. Nursing home administrators are telling us that our system allows them to differentiate themselves and more people are drawn to their facilities because of it.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at andersonwrites@yahoo.com .

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