Telstra has announced that it will shut off its 3G capability effective as of June 2024. The shutdown will impact all devices and medical alarms that currently operate on Telstra’s 3G wireless mobile telecommunications network, including hundreds of thousands of Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERs). Those providers who are too slow to upgrade their solution could put aged care residents at risk when their safety devices suddenly fail to work overnight, which is why acting fast is so essential.

The time to act is now

While mid-2024 might seem like a long time away, it’s critical that aged care providers move fast in transitioning to 4G or 5G. The shutdown will impact approximately 300,000 PERs, across thousands of aged care organisations all around Australia. While this means we’ll need to upgrade roughly 400 a day to meet the demand, our estimates show that it’s only possible for us to install around 100 per day at a single site.

Demand for these devices is already outweighing supply, because so many facilities are being forced to make the transition at the same time. This is also occurring during a period of significant and increasing global supply chain issues. Even with these supply constraints aside, shifting hundreds of residents to 4G-enabled devices is already a large and time-consuming undertaking. The process of installing and testing each new device, as well as providing adequate training for staff and residents, can take several months.

Working with elderly end users

Older people tend to be more averse to tech adoption – making technological upgrades more of a nuanced and lengthy procedure when they are direct users of these devices. It’s important to remember that residents will require more time to learn and adapt to their new PERs. Even if two devices appear to be quite similar, even small things, like new devices having different light features or sounds, can leave residents feeling confused or distressed. It’s crucial to allow sufficient time for aged care end-users to learn and adapt.

With coverage and capacity of 3G networks also being impacted in the lead-up to the 3G network shutdown, there is really no benefit to waiting any longer to make the shift. After all, Personal Emergency Response Systems are critical life-saving healthcare devices: they are simply not the type of thing that you can allow to lapse, even for a short period of time.

What does the shift to 4G mean for aged care providers?

While this initial period of transition is likely to be disruptive, those currently still utilising PERs on a legacy 3G network will immediately notice the benefits that 4G and 5G provides. As higher-performance network technologies, these networks are much faster, far more robust and highly efficient. They also offer expanded network coverage and are capable of better-supporting the latest features.

Providers should see the shutdown as an opportunity to upgrade patients to the latest ageing in place assistive technologies. Long-term, these advanced monitoring devices are not only much more efficient at providing life-saving health interventions, but can also help enhance residents’ quality of life, creating opportunities for greater independence and flexibility.

What should providers look for in a 4G upgrade?

Many of the current 3G devices on the market are only effective at sending simple alerts after incidents have occurred. The latest 4G/5G-enabled next-generation devices, on the other hand, are far superior, providing significantly enhanced monitoring of residents’ movement and activity. Advanced 4G/5G devices utilising predictive AI and machine-led monitoring, are capable of providing more proactive and less reactive responses, so care providers can intervene much quicker in health emergencies.

Simply opting for a 4G version of a personal alarm system is likely to be a mistake for providers. This technology is already outdated, meaning that further upgrades will probably be needed just around the corner. On the other hand, a smart-based 4G/5G Emergency Response System will future-proof your facility’s emergency response technologies for many years to come.

The Talius™ personal emergency response solution

NCIS Group proudly partners with Talius: Australia’s leading providers of specialised aged care sensors. With a PER solution from Talius delivered on the NCIS GPON network, providers will be able to accurately process real-time data at scale, to provide the fastest outcomes for residents. This will ensure nurses and care staff are able to act quickly to deliver the very best in safety, care and peace of mind. You can learn more in the video below.

Ready to upgrade to Talius Aged Care Technology, the future of aged care?

Talk to us today about migrating your emergency response system to a next-generation solution.