Imagine being a patient in a hospital prior to 1860. Conditions were squalid, and overcrowding was rampant. If you were bed-ridden, you were dependent on yelling for help, or waiting, possibly in great pain, until a nurse or doctor made their rounds as best they could to check on you. Conditions improved in 1860 when Florence Nightingale developed the first nurse call systems – a patient-rung bell that alerted a nurse that you needed something. The nurse still needed to be in hearing range, and still had to go to the room to see what was needed before being able to respond with the proper care and treatment.
In the years between then and now, little improvement was made in nurse call systems. Patient room call buttons that alerted a central station either with a signal, such as a beep or buzzer, or in some cases a speaker, notified staff that there were patient needs. However, the proper care personnel still had to be tracked down and notified. Better, but still inefficient.
Fast forward to today. With wireless IP wifi nurse call solutions, technology is being utilized to dramatically improve the situation. Here are eight benefits an effective wifi nurse call system provides.
“Seconds Save Lives” is more than a slogan. Response time is crucial in critical situations. A good wifi nurse call system can utilize real-time location to pinpoint exactly where staff and patients in need are located, saving critical seconds and allowing immediate response by the appropriate personnel to emergency situations. If there is a failure in the system, alerts from staff RFID tags notify the location to IT immediately, which also reduces patient risk. Regardless of any other benefit, this one makes an efficient nurse call system worth investigating
In healthcare facilities, especially those concerned with the aged, patients can wander where they shouldn’t. These patients are fitted with RFID enabled wristbands or lanyards that use Wi-Fi access points to track and instantly locate them. Being based on wireless technology, nurses can be alerted through any device, such as phones, pagers, tablets, or monitor stations. This improves patient safety, while also allowing some sense of personal patient freedom.
Having assets tagged with Wi-Fi enabled RFID means no more wasting time and staff sending someone to search on foot floor after floor, room after room, to find needed equipment. Instead, the exact location is pinpointed in real-time on strategically placed monitors or on wireless enabled devices for fast retrieval and reuse. Administrators will like the fact that RFID sensors at exits help prevent expensive equipment “growing legs” and mysteriously disappearing.
Many healthcare facilities have invested heavily in wireless networks already. RFID-based Wi-Fi nurse call systems can be integrated into existing wireless infrastructures, and can be expanded or reduced by adding or removing access points as needed. There is no need to scrap or rebuild, saving time and money. It can be installed with minimal disruption, allowing patient care to continue uninterrupted. This scalability and easy integration also means the system has more longevity and better future-proofing.
The right system, based on Wi-Fi RFID, is compatible with other IP enabled devices and equipment, such as heart monitors and other medical devices. It expands your facilities capabilities, while at the same time making the system more efficient and convenient to access and control from a single terminal.
A good wifi nurse call system can push notifications and alerts to room or hallway monitors. Combined with an IP camera system, nurses can immediately tell what is needed by the patient and respond accordingly. Real-time tracking of equipment lets nurses know before going to the room if necessary assets are on-hand or need to be retrieved.
Through real-time tracking, administrators can determine work-flows, asset distribution, and response times. This allows them to develop plans to optimize personnel and streamline processes, reducing stress and removing unnecessary burdens from a staff already pressed to meet patient needs.
In addition to RTLS, an efficient workflow is created by providing better information. Out-dated nurse call systems lack the ability to quickly and easily inform the nurse of patient needs and requests, and keep the patient in the dark with limited communication.
The right system’s software can relay data such as room numbers, resident names, and the time, along with the patient’s location and a detailed map of the facility with staff locations to staff members.
Rather than being reliant on time-consuming and task interrupting staff meetings, nurses are kept up-to-date on events throughout their shifts with improved communication through dome lights triggered automatically over patient doors and in hallways, IP phones, pagers, monitors, scrolling signs, e-mail, and text messages.
Being Wi-Fi based, data can be made accessible from any web-enabled device, making the system truly mobile.
Study after study has shown that fatigue, over-work, and inefficient workflow leads to lower quality patient care. One Australian study estimated that 12,000 patients a year in the typical teaching hospital could have patients at risk from nurse fatigue alone. Improving the workflow with an efficient nurse call system reduces, or eliminates, these risks. In addition, the right nurse call system records events and provides reports to help administrators more easily make corrections and document compliance with healthcare regulations.
Because a RFID-based wifi nurse call system is easy to integrate, is compatible with existing infrastructures, improves workflow, and increases patient satisfaction and safety, it will pay for itself almost immediately. It will be easier to obtain and retain staff because of improved working conditions, and patients who feel they were well cared for will be more likely to come back and refer others. The right nurse call system is an optimal balance of costs versus benefits.
A government study in 2014 indicated that by 2025 there will be a shortage of 85,000 nurses in Australia, with that number increasing to 135,000 by 2030. At the same time, the population over 65 years of age is rapidly rising, putting even more pressure on over-worked staff and facilities. This makes improving inadequate nurse call systems and streamlining nurse workflows more vital than ever to provide patient care that meets ever-growing needs.