What’s in your Nurse Call?

In the credit card commercial, actor Samuel L. Jackson asks “What’s in your wallet?” Now replace the question with “What’s in your Nurse Call?” While I may not be famous like Samuel L. Jackson, the question is as important as it gets. When we talk about Nurse Call, we are talking about resident safety and the ability to give their families piece of mind. In some cases, a Nurse Call system can be the difference between life and death. This is why I pose the question, what’s in your Nurse Call, or more so, how old is your Nurse Call system and how well does it work for your needs?

What are you thinking about when you read the words situational awareness? If you ask Google it will find you a definition along the lines of: The ability or need to gather information about a situation or an area in question, with haste and accuracy, to determine a course of action. This is what the core purpose of a Nurse Call system is. The system should be able to gather the data from the devices that are alerting, compile that data quickly and record it for later use, then dispatch that alert to the devices chosen to receive the alerts. What we see far too often, is a system that is either not capable of or too old to quickly register the alerts or even more common, the system is unable to alert the proper devices in time to prevent serious consequences. Remember, we are talking about the resident’s lives here and the ability for a staff to provide quick responses to emergencies. Many times an older system will not be able to send alerts to modern devices such as smart phones or emails. The other problem is, some Nurse Call platforms do not integrate to many necessary systems, such as fire panels and Wander Guard. Those systems are very critical in preventing accidents, so having them alert right through the Nurse Call system is literally, a life saver.

What should a modern Nurse Call platform provide? Well, as mentioned it should perform alerting quickly and to the devices we use for notification in a modern retirement community. That would be devices like; wireless phone systems, emails, 2 way radios, local paging systems, overhead paging, smart phones (text messaging), and pretty much any other devices you use to communicate with today. A powerful Nurse Call system also has the ability to alert through custom applications that use 2 way communication for each alert. That means, a CNA or nurse can get a message about an alert, communicate to the other nurses that the alert is being responded to already or maybe they need assistance for a lift. This type of alerting can save time and alleviate the problems with alert fatigue (alerts spamming everyone until they ignore all alerts). Another popular function is the ability to keep a running census right inside of the Nurse Call platform. Easily updatable, viewable by everyone simultaneously, and able to live update, this function makes census very manageable. Next, a modern Nurse Call system should integrate to fire panels to alert if a smoke detector goes off, integrate to Wander Guard to alert if a door is breached, and basically be able to integrate to any system that you need immediate notification of an event. Another capability of a modern Nurse Call system is the recording of all alerts and timestamping all data. This gives the users the ability to determine when alerts went on far too long before being acknowledged, and reproduce that data in case the family has questions or the staff needs to discuss operational changes.

A major change that has taken place is the platform itself has gone to wireless instead of wired communication. There are still some instances when a Nurse Call system has to be wired, mainly when local or state code dictates that wired systems must be used. One major advantage of wireless systems is the devices themselves do not require expensive and tedious low voltage wiring to be run throughout a community. Another advantage is the ease of adding additional devices to the community without major expense or planning. Simply purchase the alerting device and install it wherever it is needed. Lastly, a wireless system can include mobile pendants, devices that roam about the community with the resident, either worn or carried, and report emergencies with the press of a button. These devices include location information so that staff can quickly determine the approximate location of the resident and come to their aid.

When it is all said and done, the Nurse Call system is the center of communication for resident information and emergency alerting. This system should be customizable, easily integrated into other systems that need rapid alerting to staff, and provide easy access to the data through a web page. If your Nurse Call cannot provide these benefits to your community, you should be looking for a system that does. Whether it is to upgrade to wireless, gain the ability to alert to more modern devices such as smart phones, or replace a semi-functioning system, the system for your community is out there, waiting to provide the resident safety you need.

ProviNET Solutions is here to help. Please contact us today at (708) 468-2000 or info@provinet.com for more information.