Electronic locks in care homes

Access control in care homes: What is it?

Electronic locks: a practical solution for old people’s homes

Access control in care homes: What is it?

One of the main challenges of care homes is to offer residents and families the necessary security, especially in reducing the risk of residents going missing. In care homes, it is quite common for some of the residents to have some cognitive impairment, senile dementia or to suffer from a disease such as Alzheimer's, which can lead to them trying to leave the premises unsupervised.

Nursing homes are also places with a lot of people coming and going: residents, workers, family and friends, suppliers and external personnel who come to visit patients or organise activities. For this reason, residences often have an access control system, as well as their well-known “errant control systems”, which are installed in some centres, although they are not so common.

How does access control work in old people’s homes?

Electronic locks are adapted to health centres, such as hospitals and outpatient clinics, as well as residential and activity centres for the elderly, such as care homes or day centres.

Electronic locks are used to control those entering and leaving, with an operating system similar to a hotel, but with the particularity that short stays are not usually catered for. These systems, which are now in general use in hotels, are also extremely useful in residences, where employees usually have access "keys".

The opening devices can be a Smartphone via Bluetooth, a numeric code key or a proximity card, which is the most common in these cases.

This way, each employee has a card with access configured according to their functions and needs. The administrator can quickly enable access to more areas or to specific ones temporarily.

There are some peculiarities, however, in old people’s homes; such as, having doors that close automatically after a few seconds or others which are configured to be closed during certain times.

Advantages of an access control system in care homes

The modernisation of access to these places with electronic locks also provides several advantages:


These systems can be programmed to close within seconds, thus preventing residents from inadvertently going missing. In addition, employees can have access only to areas assigned to them, and these areas in turn can have a record of entries and exits to them. Copies cannot be made as with conventional keys and deleting access is the equivalent of removing a key from someone.

There are also furniture locks, which can manage access to cabinets, lockers, drawers, first aid cabinets or medicine trolleys. Thus, sensitive medical materials or records can be well protected and, if there is a problem, an access record can be provided.


Larger centres very often have the problem that each employee has to carry a huge set of keys to cover all their day-to-day needs. A great advantage of this system is that everything can be unified in a single card that grants the employee the permissions to enter all those places for which they previously had to have an individual key. To do this, just a few small changes have to be made to the door lock system, by inserting an electronic system.


Finally, electronic lock systems used for old people’s homes are noted for their high degree of configuration. For example, a residence with highly independent people can provide each resident with a key to access the centre, their room and common areas. However, if a centre has many dependent people, they will need to be accompanied by staff to enter different common areas or rooms, some of which can be allowed to remain open.

If you need more information about this type of system, do not hesitate to contact the Omnitec team for all the details on installation.