Global healthcare entrance provider Boon Edam is introducing layers of physical security that interface with a variety of electronic access control systems to help residential aged care and public and private hospitals and health facilities safeguard residents, patients and staff against future Covid infections and virus outbreaks.

The entrance solutions – which respond to calls for Covid-19 vaccination mandates for visitors to such facilities – include freshly European-styled non-institutional revolving and sliding door entrance combinations that can seamlessly integrate with leading digital readers, and access control systems to read QR codes and vaccination records.

Touchless biometric technologies (including facial recognition, fingerprint recognition and others) can be included in areas needing greatest access control, but with technology that is incorporated into discreet and unobtrusive formats that bring uplifting style, comfort and ease of use to places welcoming residents, visitors and staff working with people who value a positive ambience, says Boon Edam Australia managing director Michael Fisher.

The combinations of optimum entrance types for particular needs – such as specialist door types for people with disability – can also be integrated with stylish Speedlane electronic access gates of a type already used by architects, builders and security specialists for Fortune 500 companies globally and for major Australian bank, legislature and security-conscious Government and private organisations.

The latest call for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for people visiting nursing homes was made by the Aged and Community Services Australia, which is working with consumer groups and other provider organisations on a revised visitor code for visitation to residential aged care. Fisher says such calls are part of a worldwide movement toward medical facility access controls that the global Boon Edam organisation is experiencing not only from aged care facilities, but also from hospitals, medical centres, and any facility where a duty of care extends to staff, patients and visitors.

“Boon Edam is finding globally that health industries want everyone who visits age care and broader health facilities to be protected by vaccines where the facility is dealing with the most vulnerable people in society, including sick and aged people. Because access control can’t just be a reception desk responsibility – which would be slow, expensive to staff, and prone to possible error – Boon Edam is being asked for solutions that streamline the process– and remove the possibility of confrontations where people might take exception to being asked to consider the health of others by producing evidence of vaccination.

“Our experience in some of the major healthcare facilities in 27 countries tells us that the ideal approach will be a layered approach to security, with minimally intrusive pass card systems in some areas ranging up to retinal recognition and high-security revolving door systems in other professional areas.”

A key benefit of revolving door systems in addition to access control is energy conservation, with their ‘always open, always closed’ functionality providing lower HVAC losses while increasing the temperature stability and comfort of people inside. These advantages have been proven in many of the world’s leading hospitals and hotels, where visitor comfort is paramount.

Further economy and versatility is provided where required by night locking entrance options including electromechanical locks that can be unlocked with a key or by means of an optional key impulse switch. In addition, Boon Edam entrance doors can be seamlessly integrated with security speedgates that regulate and monitor the access and egress of staff and visitors.

Entrance access control technologies can also be integrated into complementary internal access and traffic facilities, such as lifts through the Boon Edam partnership with the Schindler Group internationally. Boon Edam Australia has also established a partnership with Gilgen sliding door distributor Access Entry that will deliver architects and specifiers access to leading European door systems from the one source. This means architects and builders don’t have to specify entrance solutions piecemeal, but can obtain from one service-oriented source, security entrances, revolving doors and automatic and sliding doors where required (such as emergency egress or stretcher access and egress).

Covid-19 risks to the elderly and vulnerable have been spelt out comprehensively by the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus, for example, which also details hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of investment in training and improvements.

Deaths from Covid in residential aged care account for most fatalities from the virus in Australia – and major lockdowns in New Zealand caused by fear of the same happening there.

“Entrance security and security within nursing homes will be central to changes now taking place, and such changes will also extend to hospital and medical centres, where patients, visitors and staff will need greater protection,” said Fisher.

“Access and egress of large staff and visitor flows need to be regulated as part of owners’ and operators’ duty of care. This is becoming integral to their risk management policies and increasingly part of designer’s briefs across these broader market sectors, because Covid isn’t going to go away suddenly, and this virus won’t be the last if history is any guide,” he said.