Carolina Meadows Case Study


Carolina Meadows, a Continuing Care Retirement Community uses eCylinders to Provide Residents with Peace of Mind.

Carolina Meadows—a continuing care retirement community in Chatham County, NC—has 25 years of experience serving residents through independent living, assisted living and ongoing health care.  With 700 residents, a staff of 425, six independent living apartment buildings, 289 independent living villas, 64 assisted living apartments,  and an 86-bed health center, Joe Zannini, Ph.D., Vice President for Facilities for Carolina Meadows, says that first and foremost, residents must feel safe and secure on campus. 

“In 2012, we had more than 18,000 maintenance calls throughout our campus.  On occasion, after a maintenance visit a resident reports something has been misplaced.  With the Medeco Logic eCylinder system we can track ingress and egress of not only maintenance, but health care professionals as well as our housekeepers,” said Dr. Zannini. 

“From the first call of ‘I’ve misplaced or can’t find my favorite purse or watch’, we are able to generate a report that shows who has been in the apartment or villa home, and when.  Inevitably, the item is found—just having been moved a bit from its former location in order to make a repair, or, dispense daily medicine.  Until the item is found, the report helps to absolve Carolina Meadows and its staff of any wrong doing,” added Dr. Zannini. 

Prior to installing the eCylinder system from Medeco, if a staff member’s entry or exit from a resident’s home, or other area of the campus was in question, Dr. Zannini or another member of the facility management team had to look up the report on a log maintained by hand—work orders, for example.  The entire mechanical key system at Carolina Meadows was at least 25 years old.

Carolina Meadows’ campus covers 166 acres.  Dr. Zannini knew he needed to provide a variety of levels of security throughout.  Using a system that operates on a Wi-Fi platform was not an option due to the campus size, nor was a battery operated lock system—there are just too many points of entry to cover if electricity or battery power failed. 

“Medeco’s eCylinder lock systems offer top level security, access control, and accountability in one easy-to use package,” said Dr. Zannini.  “We first installed the eCylinder system in a group of our independent living apartment buildings, and we plan to complete the installation in the rest of the campus soon.” 

Carolina Meadow’s independent living apartments presented a special challenge because residents truly wanted to preserve their independence and felt that locking the outside entry doors overnight was limiting.  Many apartment residents subscribe to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.  If the doors were locked between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., how would the newspaper delivery person gain access and deliver the paper to the residents’ front doors?

One of the strongest benefits of eCylinders is the ability to give out a key and program it to have access not only to certain doors but also at certain times of the day.   Newspaper delivery personnel were granted keys that would open the exterior doors to the independent living buildings only between the hours of 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.  The new Medeco system has made locking the apartment exterior doors an acceptable practice for the residents because they did not need to add a key to their chain—one key continues to work for the front door as well as their apartment home.

Programming of keys works not just for newspaper delivery at Carolina Meadows, but also for the residents themselves throughout the campus.  If a resident needed access to work in the gift shop as a volunteer, the gift shop lock could be programmed to that specific resident’s key.  Once the volunteer stint was over, the shop lock is reprogrammed and access by the resident’s key is no longer valid.  Similarly, many of the residents—but not all—enjoy the benefits of the woodworking shop.  Before gaining access to the woodworking shop, residents must pass a safety course.  Upon completion of the safety course, the resident’s shop lock is reprogrammed to accept this resident’s key and he/she has access.  In fact, the beauty of the eCylinder system is in the fact that Carolina Meadow’s residents carry only one key, yet it has access to all of the places they want to go.

Carolina Meadows will continue to upgrade its security system with Medeco solutions throughout 2013 and beyond.  Dr. Zannini adds, “Our security program includes a staged changing to electronic cylinder locks in all sensitive areas as well—from our medical records and pharmacy, to the kitchen supply areas.”