Senior Living Community Paradise Valley Estates Keeps Residents Connected With AlertMedia
- SafetyKeeps residents and staff across the campus safe and connected during emergencies.
- ReliabilityEnsures residents receive the messages they need with multichannel notification delivery.
- EfficiencyAllows Paradise Valley Estates to quickly reach hundreds of residents during critical events.
- Quality of CareEnables staff to spend more time on tasks that improve the resident experience.
Retirement Community Puts Communication at the Heart of Wildfire Preparedness
Paradise Valley Estates is a 76-acre, nonprofit senior living community that welcomes people age 60 and older from all walks of life. Founded in 1997 by military officers in Fairfield, California, approximately 70 percent of residents are military veterans. The community currently is home to more than 500 residents, with plans to open a 70-home expansion in 2021. Offering the freedom of residential living and unlimited future care services, residents have access to the full continuum of care—independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care.
When a wildfire forced Paradise Valley Estates’ residents to evacuate the facility in 2018, staff members had to individually notify residents by going door to door. The cumbersome, manual effort was inefficient and wasted precious time given the urgency of the situation. Turning to AlertMedia’s multichannel, two-way emergency communication software, Paradise Valley Estates can now rapidly send notifications to impacted residents about any critical event. From maintenance and repair updates to wildfires and COVID-19 vaccine clinics, AlertMedia allows Paradise Valley Estates to enhance safety, drive efficiencies, and maintain a top-notch resident experience.
Door-to-Door Emergency Notification Was Slow and Inefficient
As a large senior living community with approximately 320 independent living and 150 assisted living residences, emergency communication was a challenge. Paradise Valley Estates relied on manual efforts to keep residents informed during critical events, but this was time-consuming and labor-intensive.
“Going door to door or stuffing mailboxes to inform residents took an inordinate amount of time. And in a true emergency, you just don’t have that kind of luxury.”
When a gas line was accidentally breached during the construction of the organization’s memory care unit, for example, staff members went door to door to alert residents. In another instance, staff members hand-delivered hundreds of notifications to residents’ mailboxes to inform them of a local union strike. “Going door to door or stuffing mailboxes to inform residents took an inordinate amount of time. And in a true emergency, you just don’t have that kind of luxury,” says Jeff Rausis, Director of Communications and IT at Paradise Valley Estates.
In August 2018, these communication inefficiencies grew from an inconvenience to a safety concern. Located in a region susceptible to wildfires, a grass fire quickly spread from the nearby freeway and threatened parts of Paradise Valley Estates’ campus. To inform residents and ensure they were evacuating to safety, staff members had no other option but to notify residents individually door to door. Fortunately, the wildfire was contained and all staff and residents were safely evacuated, but the event served as a catalyst to modernizing emergency communication processes at Paradise Valley Estates.
“When we had to evacuate parts of our campus due to an approaching wildfire, we realized we needed a better way to quickly communicate with our residents,” says Rausis. “Given the size of our campus, only a purpose-built emergency communication solution would allow us to quickly identify and reach the right audience in the event of an emergency.”
Multichannel Communication Safeguards Message Delivery
After a thorough evaluation of multiple solutions, Paradise Valley Estates selected AlertMedia to communicate with employees and residents about critical events. Since residents and employees have varying degrees of technical skill and comfort, the solution’s intuitive interface and easy-to-learn features have been invaluable to driving adoption.
“Approximately 25 percent of residents and 15 percent of employees don’t have email addresses at all, so multichannel communication is vital to getting the word out quickly and reaching everyone.”
With AlertMedia’s multichannel notification delivery, the organization can instantly reach all residents and employees through their preferred communication channel. By sending notifications via text, email, landline phones, mobile phones, and mobile app push, Rausis and his team can ensure messages are received as intended. “Approximately 25 percent of residents and 15 percent of employees don’t have email addresses at all, so multichannel communication is vital to getting the word out quickly and reaching everyone,” says Rausis.
By creating location-based dynamic groups, Paradise Valley Estates can segment and communicate with residents based on where they reside within the expansive campus. And by easily tracking the delivery status of all messages in AlertMedia, Paradise Valley Estates can individually target residents who may need in-person follow up. “It used to take hours to notify all residents about a critical event, which is often time that you don’t have. I can now get a message out within 60 seconds,” adds Rausis.
For example, using AlertMedia’s audience segmentation capabilities, Paradise Valley Estates was able to notify residents in a specific part of the facility that the elevator was temporarily out of order. The organization was also able to use this functionality to communicate about a new nurse call system being installed in residences throughout the facility. AlertMedia was used to notify residents when installers would be in their homes so that residents could temporarily vacate to avoid any potential exposure to COVID-19.
A Redesigned Wildfire Communication Strategy Proves Effective
In 2020, another wildfire threatened Paradise Valley Estates’ community, but this time the organization was prepared. Says Rausis, “There’s no comparing our wildfire response and communication strategy before and after AlertMedia. Calling it night and day would still be an understatement.”
With the wildfire nearing the campus, the organization used AlertMedia to send multichannel notifications to staff and residents about the mandatory evacuation. Using AlertMedia’s two-way survey functionality, the organization was also able to rapidly assist residents that needed help evacuating. “AlertMedia’s survey notifications allowed us to instantly identify two dozen residents that needed help evacuating during the recent wildfire,” says Rausis. “With these real-time insights, we were able to prioritize our efforts and send security up to those residents’ homes immediately to assist.”
Not only does having an emergency communication tool improve the safety of residents, it also allows Paradise Valley Estates to deliver a better quality of care. “By using AlertMedia during the recent wildfire, we freed up to 20 staff members who previously would have been dedicated to going door to door to notify residents,” says Rausis. “AlertMedia allowed us to drive communication efficiencies, giving staff members more time to personally help residents evacuate their homes, escort them to local hotels, and be a greater source of comfort and support to anxious residents.”
Delivering a Better Resident Experience Through Communication
Unique to Paradise Valley Estates is its focus on prioritizing resident safety and well-being by establishing robust emergency response plans that center around effective communication. Paradise Valley Estates recognized early on the value that internal communication could have on residents’ quality of life. By using AlertMedia to communicate with residents during emergencies, Paradise Valley Estates can ensure residents always know what’s going on and feel confident that they’re well taken care of.
“Not many communities like ours have an employee dedicated solely to improving communication, but communication can make or break the resident experience,” adds Rausis. “Keeping our people informed and connected with AlertMedia allows us to enhance safety while also bringing greater peace of mind and comfort to daily life.”
And Paradise Valley Estates continues to find ways it can leverage AlertMedia to enhance resident communication. Most recently, the organization held a large COVID-19 vaccine clinic on its campus. Residents were assigned specific times based on their neighborhood, and AlertMedia was used to send messages to residents letting them know when to arrive at the vaccination site.
“AlertMedia allowed us to seamlessly organize and operate an on-site COVID-19 vaccine clinic,” says Rausis. “Segmenting residents by neighborhood in AlertMedia, we were able to send personalized, targeted messages to residents letting them know when it was their turn to be vaccinated. This dramatically accelerated and improved the vaccination process, allowing us to actually stay ahead of schedule and finish the clinic an hour early.”