Six years ago, Alicia Hammond*, 67, of Calgary, Alberta, was handed an assorted bag full of old dentures that had been lost at a local seniors care facility where her elderly mother lived. Hammond was hoping to find a pair belonging to her mother, Frances Devlin*, an 87-year-old woman who suffered from Dementia.
Devlin had lost her dentures within the first week of moving into this care facility, which isn’t an uncommon problem in nursing homes and hospitals. Simply wrapping a napkin around a set of dentures in the dining hall can quickly lead to those dentures accidentally being placed in the garbage along with uneaten food at the end of their meal, or tossed in the laundry hamper with dinner napkins. Glasses and hearing aids can easily be lost the same way.
This seemingly harmless move can greatly affect the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable; especially those suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
When Hammond was approached with this bag of dentures, she wondered how she would possibly know which dentures belonged to her mother. When she shared this story with her sister, Mary-Lou Erik and Erik’s partner David Evans, they thought something in this narrative needed to change.
Evans’ came to a quick realization and discovery of design and application to create a product that could not only be attached to these easily lost items, but be easily traceable with an alerting device as well as owner information. The Identifinder quickly came to life as a system that will revolutionize care facilities as we know them today. A wireless chip that can be implanted into easily misplaced and smaller items such as glasses, dentures, hearing aids, and keys was then brought to life. When chipped items are passed through areas outfitted with an identification marker system, the items voice alerts and can then be scanned for user information and returned to its owner.
The identification marker systems would traditionally be set up in the kitchen of care facilities and hospitals, the laundry room, and entrance and exit points. In addition to an alarm system, these chips can then be scanned to obtain personal information so that the items can be properly returned to their owners. Care givers are said to be notified of the item being found before patients even become aware that the item was missing.
Any facility where items are lost or misplaced would benefit from this revolutionary product, including but not limited to care and nursing homes, schools, hospitals, day care and preschool centres, gym facilities, and even horticultural growers where the tracking and scanning systems can be utilized to itemize differing plant varieties. An often unseen cost in care facilities, especially, is the time that care givers spend looking for lost items. The Identifinder is projected to save care facilities around $40,000 annually from care provider time saved. Not only will money be saved in care facilities, but peace of mind will be given by saving the physical loss of these items, and care providers will be given back their time to focus on those in their care rather than looking for the lost items.
From time of conception until now, Evans’ has registered patents for the Identifinder with USPTO (United States Patented Trademark Office,) which also provides product patent protection in Canada; designed the prototype and bill of materials; instituted different systems and protocols; established a protocol to establish pinch points and strategic points within the facility; actively growing supplier relationships while establishing a stable supply chain; and created an impactful way to monetize this groundbreaking technology.
In the design and patent process, Evans’ said that the most challenging aspect was in writing the enterprise software to make it scalable and suitable for several large institutions to make them accessible from cloud space data bases. “What we have here is called disruptive technology,” said Evans “there is nothing like this on the market today.” He continued, “while wireless technology is a long established technology, we have developed a specific software and methodology to use it for a specific need; enhancing an existing technology.”
The Identifinder is currently finishing several very successful trials with long term care facilities in Alberta, Canada. A fast growth rate is anticipated, and with incredible Government support to date, the team at Identifinder anticipate continued support through Government agencies.