RCare News & Blog
RCare wishes you and everyone in your community happy holidays, and a very merry holiday season. We do what we do because it makes life in your community better. RCare’s advanced wireless nurse call and monitoring solutions are designed to make your community safer, your staff more effective and your residents happier. More than that, we hope it gives families peace of mind, especially during the holidays.
And with RCare, there’s something under the tree for everyone, from CNAs to facility managers, from social workers to business administrators. RCare’s environmental sensors can alert maintenance staff if it’s wet where it should be dry, or cold where it should be warm. The RPhone mobile handset is a great gift for on-the-go caregivers, allowing them to carry the nursing station in their pocket. The new RMetrix reporting system is on every administrator’s wish list. Your top decision-makers can know all about response times, frequent flyers, and the types of care being performed–even across multiple campuses. Choose from a comprehensive selection of pre-built reports, custom build your own reports, or let our business analysts custom build one for you.
However your community celebrates this year, RCare celebrates with you. We wish you all the best this holiday season.
The RCare Team
Hey….Is Your Refrigerator Running?
Unlike the old prank call joke, refrigerator temperature in long term care is no laughing matter. When health inspectors check out your senior community’s kitchen, one of the first places they’ll look is at your refrigerators. Are they keeping food at the proper temperature? This is important because food-borne illnesses are surprisingly common and can be very serious, especially among the more vulnerable populations. According to Federal government estimates, “Each year these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.”
Good refrigeration is easy to get right by using RCare’s advanced temperature sensors to monitor temperatures inside refrigerators.
It’s a critical responsibility to ensure that all dining facility refrigerators are within the proper cooling range. However, many times residents have refrigerators in private apartments too, which need to be consistently monitored as well.
But food safety isn’t the only reason refrigerator temps needs to be monitored. Perhaps equally important are the medications and vaccines which require refrigeration, including insulin for controlling diabetes, some rheumatoid arthritis medications, some common antibiotics, and many more. For these medications, temperature stability is critical, and even small temperature fluctuations can render them ineffective, or even dangerous.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, refrigerator temperatures that drop even 5 degrees can freeze medications and vaccines, rendering them totally ineffective. The CDC also warns that temperatures varying the other direction, and are too warm, can melt some meds, and can cause others to become useless. While medications can cause harm by being made ineffective, what’s potentially even worse is that they can cause an adverse event in the resident.
The solution is to make sure that you know the temperature in your refrigerator at all times, and that you get alerted if the temperature spikes or falls. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends using a thermometer to check the refrigerator temperature frequently, but in a facility with dozens or hundreds of refrigerators, this is a process that clearly needs to be automated. What’s more, according to CDC guidelines, it’s important to test at different times of day, at different times during the refrigerator cooling cycle, during different seasons and weather conditions, and during different user activity patterns, to ensure that the refrigerators are always maintaining a safe, stable temperature. And it’s important to be able to refer back to a log, to verify that over time the temperature has remained at a safe level.
RCare offers the ideal solution, a digital refrigerator thermometer that is integrated right into the facility’s nurse call system. Temperatures are monitored continuously, and logged, so you can check the history of any refrigerator. Should the temperature veer outside of the safe range, caregivers receive a discreet alert, letting them know immediately when there is a problem. This means that food and medications can be moved to safer storage right away.
Whether it’s food or medicine, you can’t count on knowing whether they’re safe just by how they look. “Some medications may visibly show a compromised medication through cloudiness and/or clumping. However, other medications may not show any signs of alteration, thereby leaving the impression the medications are fine.”
With RCare monitoring your refrigerator temperatures, you can be confident that your refrigerators are running exactly as they should be. And if they’re not, RCare will let you know. Your residents count on you for their health and safety. RCare can help.
In news that is shaking up senior living communities, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has put serious restrictions on the use of bed and chair alarms-but only those that sound alarms near the resident. This will cause many senior housing communities to reevaluate their nurse call and advanced monitoring technologies to ensure they will comply with the new regulations, effective at the end of November, 2017.
According to CMS, a revision to the State Operations Manual will now classify bed and chair alarms, or any position change alarms which make an audible noise near the resident as a restraint. Restraints can only be used when deemed medically necessary and even then, must be continuously reevaluated for use. In other words, if a resident can hear the alarm that the sensor makes, it would be not authorized for general use.
There are many good reasons for this regulation. CMS explains the rationale to ban these devices as potentially harmful emotionally and physically to the resident:
- Loss of dignity
- Decreased mobility
- Bowel and bladder incontinence
- Sleep disturbances due to the sound of the alarm or because the resident is afraid to move in bed thereby setting off the alarm
- Confusion, fear, agitation, anxiety, or irritation in response to the sound of the alarm as residents may mistake the alarm as a warning or as something they need to get away from.
According to the newly implemented CMS revisions: “While position change alarms may be implemented to monitor a resident’s movements, for some residents, the use of position change alarms that are audible to the resident(s) may have the unintended consequence of inhibiting freedom of movement. For example, a resident may be afraid to move to avoid setting off the alarm and creating noise that is a nuisance to the resident(s) and staff, or is embarrassing to the resident. For this resident, a position change alarm may have the potential effect of a physical restraint.”
Communities must adapt and quickly to this change. But, fortunately communities have a better choice, not only for complying with the new requirements, but for making the quality of life better within the community. RCare’s bed and chair sensors are seamlessly integrated into all of the RCare nurse call systems and discreetly alert staff, without embarrassing or disrupting the resident. This is why RCare continues to integrate a wide variety of environmental and activity monitoring sensors into its wireless nurse call solutions.
Communities have good reasons for using position change sensors. It’s important to know if a resident may need help. It’s important to know if someone is having a restless night, or if they haven’t moved from the couch or gotten out of bed. And it’s important to know if they’ve gotten out of the wheelchair.
With RCare, alerts go directly to the nurse station and can message or call the wireless RPhones carried by staff. The event is automatically logged. The “I got it” feature enables caregivers to claim the call, so there’s no duplication of response effort, and no alert goes unanswered.
These kinds of incidents make up a record that helps staff tailor a plan of care for each resident. This record helps staff, and families, know when the situation has changed and the plan of care needs to change as well. It keeps a record of the the resident/care staff interaction, too, which is critical for resident-centered care and quality.
In addition to bed and chair sensors, the RCare system integrates with universal contact sensors and passive sensors to detect unsafe room temperature levels, refrigerator temperature fluctuations, and water overflows. And, of course, the system integrates with a full range of resident-activated devices, such as push-button pendants, pull cords, and the like. The new GeoPendant can set safe zones for residents who need it, so care staff are discreetly alerted if and when particular residents move outside their designated safe area. No more loud alarms.
Having a single system that channels all alerts to the same receivers makes sense for busy care staff, who can monitor all concerns, wherever they are, on their mobile device. Having those alerts be discreet and quiet makes for a better living and working environment for everyone. And most importantly, getting rid of those noisy alarms is good for the health and the safety of the residents and the caregiving staff.
It’s Thanksgiving, and we’re counting our blessings. What are we thankful for? We are thankful for you.
We are thankful for caregivers, and we are thankful for everyone who helps and supports you, so you can do your important work. Why? Because we have family and friends who rely on you. We have parents, grandparents, and other loved ones who depend on your every day. And one day–just like everyone else–we will need you, too. We’re grateful that you’re here, that you’re doing what you do best, and that we know we can count on you to be there for us, now and in the future.
There is no higher calling than caring for others in need. It’s why we strive so hard to serve you, to make your work easier and more effective. And by “you” we don’t mean only the people who show up in mom’s room if she pushes her nurse call button. We mean all of the people who are necessary to make senior living communities work. From executives to food service to facility managers, we thank you.
When we designed RCare wireless nurse call systems, we were thinking about all of you. We were thinking about caregivers, who get good information and great communications. We were thinking about decision-makers, who get top-notch reporting, and the information they need to make the best decisions. We were thinking about facility managers, who need to keep the place running, and running safely. At RCare we know that everyone in your community plays a part in it’s success. Our job is to make each and every person in your community successful.
And we’re thankful that you entrust us to do so. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.
McKnight’s Senior Living recently featured RCare in an article about innovative technologies that are improving care in senior communities. Called the “Strong, Silent Type,” the article focuses on the importance of resident comfort, safety and peace of mind. And it addresses the challenge of providing that security discreetly, and with respect for the dignity and independence of the residents.
How do communities accomplish this? And how do they manage it without burning out their staff with unrealistic expectations? The article had some very specific suggestions for technology and innovative industry leaders, including RCare. The innovations highlighted by the article help raise the level of care in senior living communities by offering comfort, safety and peace of mind, while preserving the independence and autonomy of the residents.
The article spotlighted the RCare GeoPendant as an excellent example of a product that lets caregivers custom-define safe zones for residents who need them. “Seniors can move about the community freely, but if they move outside an individually customized safety zone, a discreet alert can be sent to specified caregivers.” This is especially important in mixed communities, where not all residents have the same needs, and the needs of any resident may change over time. “Because residents’ security and care needs differ and will continue evolving over time, security solutions providers also must develop flexible products to meet those changes.”
In fact, the GeoPendant was designed for mixed communities. It allows care staff to use the right tool for individual residents who can benefit from it. Meanwhile, it helps reduce the problem of alarm fatigue, an issue the article points out is becoming an increasing concern for communities. By integrating a wide variety of devices with their nurse call system, RCare avoids loud alarms, and instead alerts are sent to caregivers quietly, discreetly, and efficiently.
RCare’s GeoPendant allows operators to define customized areas that are safe for a resident, without using walls and locked doors.
The article also addressed the growing trend in wireless nurse call systems, and RCare is at the forefront, providing a full line of wireless systems. “Wireless solutions also continue to gain ground in the senior housing segment, a shift experts attribute to the ease of use and scalability of WiFi, which can allow operators to more easily cover their entire campuses.”
As RCare’s marketing director Mike Andolina pointed out, residents deserve privacy and health data protection. In order to be effective for communities, nurse call systems and their integrated devices also need to be HIPAA-compliant. “To help meet those requirements, RCare’s customized, locked-down RPhone offers all the key caregiver communication features needed to address resident needs, while excluding other features that could jeopardize privacy, such as camera, personal texts or social media access.” And that’s critical to communities, where HIPAA is a very real part of day-to-day operations. Communities want their staff to have the best tools available, but those tools have to meet the regulatory needs of the organization as well.
New Orleans is known for amazing food, music, and of course the renowned Mardi Gras celebrations. At the end of October, New Orleans will have a new claim to fame. It will be host to America’s largest not-for-profit aging services industry event, the LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo.
Anyone who’s anyone in aging services gathers together at LeadingAge to see the latest and greatest in senior care innovation and services, learn best practices and renew a shared passion for delivering the best possible care to seniors everywhere.
At RCare, we never miss it. And this year we’ll be at Booth 1310, showcasing our brand new RCare booth with expanded product offerings, new and improved RMetrix enterprise and analytics features for all RCare customers, and our latest “Everyone’s a Winner with RCare” Series. You see, RCare has designed product offerings and services for every single individual involved in care, whether you’re a resident, administrator, caregiver, facility manager or in charge of quality management. Our systems are designed to help everyone have the tools they need to provide the best possible care. And we can prove it.
To celebrate our “Everyone’s a Winner with RCare” campaign, we have big giveaways at the booth. Stop by Booth 1310 to pick up your free Bluetooth fidget spinner. No, they are not JUST for the kids, take a look at this McKnight’s article highlighting the advantage of Fidget Spinners for dementia residents. Plus, try for a bigger prize while finding out RCare can help you and your community.
We know that something on everyone’s minds this year is Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI). The CDC will be issuing regulations requiring skilled nursing facilities to implement a quality assurance and improvement program. At that point, the clock starts ticking, and facilities will have one year to have their programs implemented and complete. Now is the time to be getting these programs in place, and RCare knows exactly how to help satisfy all your QAPI needs.
For example, RMetrix v2 is a new reporting and analytics package that comes native with every RCare nurse call system. RMetrix provides reports and data that help communities measure how they’re doing, and assess their improvements, which is the core of QAPI. RMetrix comes with an impressive list of built-in reports that can be run for your entire facility, or by shift, by wing, by client, and more. You get the option to filter the data the way you need it. If we don’t have the report you need, the custom report designer included with RMetrix lets you create your own. Or, if you need a little help, RCare’s business analyst can custom-design reports for you, for a modest fee. RCare can help you make your QAPI program a success.
Be sure to check out our all new GeoPendant. This pendant was designed to provide residents with the flexibility and freedom to move safely around the community. Caregiving staff can define individual “safe zones”, and receive discreet alert notifications if a resident moves outside of their custom safe zone. It also serves as a push-button PERS. Location tracking lets caregivers know where the help is needed. Perfect for mixed communities, the GeoPendant is small, sleek, wireless and attractive, and it’s fully integrated with RCare’s nurse call systems.
According to the Nursing Home Data Compendium of 2015 by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, nearly half the residents of skilled nursing communities are in facilities with under 100 beds. RCare recognizes that these communities don’t require expensive, enterprise-level server hardware, but they do require the most innovative and comprehensive tools to provide the best possible care with fewer staff.
Stop by Booth 1310 to check out the BCube, designed and priced exclusively for small communities with 128 beds or fewer. Using a smaller touch-based computer server, RCare’s revolutionary BCube provides all the reporting features and advanced technology of our flagship RCube wireless nurse call system, at a fraction of the cost.
But that’s not all. We’ll be telling everyone about our brand new Durable RPhone, coming in 2018. You already know that the RPhone is a powerhouse of secure caregiver communication and notifications. What you didn’t know is that it’s now nearly indestructible. Stop by Booth 1310 for a sneak peek, and to see all the latest advancements in wireless nurse call systems.
2017 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo
October 29 – November 1
Ernest N Morial Convention Center
Expo Hall Hours:
Monday, October. 30 | Noon – 3:30pm
Tuesday, October 31 | 11:30am – 3:30pm
Wednesday, November 1 | 9:30am – 11:30am
RCare Booth: 1310
RCare on Twitter: @ResponseCare
RCare on Facebook: @RCareInc
Twitter handle: @LeadingAge
At RCare, we know how important it is to meet face-to-face and we want to make it easy for you to come see us. We have new advanced nurse call and monitoring technologies to share, a new caregiver mobile tool, a new “Safe Zone” resident GeoPendant, advanced metrics features and so much more to ensure the highest level of care. So, we’re hitting the road and touring from Ohio, to New Orleans, to Texas and to Florida. Can we make a date to see you?
If you’re at one of these events or tradeshows, we’re going to be discussing how RCare is designed for QAPI programs, our integratable and flexible nurse call and monitoring technologies and how we can scale a solution to fit your exact needs.
RCare Tradeshows 2017
OALA Fall Conference & Trade Show
LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo
October 29-November 1
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa
San Antonio TX
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
On October 26, we’re heading to Columbus, Ohio for the Ohio Assisted Living Association’s Fall Conference and Trade Show. OALA is the largest trade association for assisted living communities in the state, and prides itself on being a strong voice on all issues affecting assisted living. That’s good stuff. RCare is attending with Health Grade Networks, one of our trusted integrators. These folks are experts at implementing turnkey solutions for assisted living facilities. If you’re at OALA, stop by and say hello, and learn more about how RCare’s wireless nurse call solutions can help you with your QAPI program.
A few days later, RCare is heading to New Orleans for LeadingAge 2017. The LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo is our nation’s largest annual event for the not-for-profit aging services field and we never miss it. This year, we’re launching our “Everyone’s a Winner with RCare” campaign, because no matter what your role is in a community, whether you’re a caregiver or resident, the executive director, the IT support person, or the food service director, RCare’s powerful tools will make your life better. To kick off the “Everyone’s a Winner with RCare” campaign, we have giveaways for every single person who stops by our booth. If you’re in New Orleans, be sure to stop by Booth 1310 and pick up a free Bluetooth fidget spinner, take a chance on a bigger prize, and learn more about how RCare can help customize the best solution for your community.
From New Orleans we’ll be going west to San Antonio, TX for HealthTac. This is an invitation-only event for senior executives in the healthcare industry. We love these opportunities to network, and to get to know the people who are making things happen in the senior care industry. If you’re going to HealthTAC, let’s find a time to talk.
And then from November 6 – 9 we’ll be in Kissimmee, FL for this year’s PCC Summit. RCare is integrated with PointClickCare’s EHR system because we know that time is a rare commodity in senior care. Communities using both PCC and RCare get some pretty great benefits. When you enter a resident’s data to PCC, it updates automatically in RCare. Any changes or updates to the resident record, or room changes, are automatically transferred. No duplication of effort. No lag time waiting for data entry. Decreased errors. And when you get an alert through the nurse call system, you know the data is complete and up-to-date. It’s an integration that just made sense.
Even if you’re not going to be at one of these events, you can set up an appointment with our very own road warrior, Gary Jones by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 585-671-4144.
Want to know more?
Check us out: www.rcareinc.com or download our product catalog.
Every year when fall rolls around, RCare looks forward to the annual AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo. Four days of education, networking, and being able to show off the latest features of our RCare nurse call and emergency monitoring platform, and help you see why everyone is a winner with RCare.
AHXA/NCAL is the annual gathering of the largest association of long-term and post-acute care providers in the country. The work that members do is so very important to the health and happiness of our nation’s seniors, and we’re glad we can support it.
Something on everyone’s minds this year is Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI). In a short time, the CDC is expected to issue regulations requiring skilled nursing facilities to implement a quality assurance and improvement program. Facilities have one year from the time the regulation is final in which to have their programs in place, which means now is the right time to be working on them.
RCare can help. Stop by booth 748 to see RMetrix v2, our new reporting and analytics package which is native to every RCare nurse call system. RMetrix provides reports and data that help communities measure how they’re doing, and assess their improvements, the basis of QAPI. Call response time analyses, incident lists and exceptions, call distributions, and trend analyses, for example, are just a few of the ways RCare can help you make your QAPI program a success.
If you operate a smaller community, be sure to check out the BCube, our new nurse call system exclusively for small communities. According to the Nursing Home Data Compendium of 2015 by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, there are nearly 8,000 skilled nursing communities with fewer than 100 beds. These communities don’t require expensive, enterprise-level server hardware, but they do require the tools to provide the best possible care. Using a smaller touch-based computer, RCare’s revolutionary BCube is designed, scaled and priced for smaller campuses with 128 beds or fewer. It has all of the reporting features and advanced technology of the of the RCube, including the use of all the same emergency and monitoring devices, but at a fraction of the cost.
This year, we are celebrating that with RCare, everyone is a winner. From residents, administrators, caregivers, and facilities managers, our systems are designed to help everyone have the tools they need to provide the best possible care. Stop by Booth 748 to pick up your Bluetooth fidget spinner, take a chance on a bigger prize, and find out more about RCare.
AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo
October 15 – 18
Mandalay Bay Resort
Las Vegas, NV
Expo Hall Hours:
Monday, October 16 | 11:30am – 3:00pm
Tuesday, October 17 | 11:00am – 2:00pm
RCare booth: 748
When the outside temperature rises, it’s not only an inconvenient situation. Heat waves can be deadly to older and more vulnerable residents.
This lesson was driven home starkly in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida, where nine residents died after losing power in their nursing community.
It doesn’t take a catastrophic hurricane to make heat a deadly problem for seniors. Nearly 400 Americans die from heat waves each year. “Most of them are elderly people who often don’t realize when they are overheating and in danger.” (agingcare.com)
This is an awesome responsibility that falls on senior communities, to prevent and respond to a potential temperature increase, even if the resident doesn’t realize the danger or severity of the situation.
Nurse Call Systems have come a long way in the past few decades. Caregiving staff are expected to do far more than simply respond to button and pull cord alerts. They need to be aware if a resident is in a dangerous environment, without the resident having to do anything. The technology needs to enable better, faster, and more predictive care.
That’s why RCare’s nurse call systems have gone above and beyond, to integrate passive environmental sensors, such as temperature and flood detecting sensors. RCare’s temperature devices will detect when temperatures are rising and start sending out alerts to designated caregiving team members. RCare allows for a quick intervention, before the situation becomes a crisis.
Passive sensors are an important part of a complete nurse call system. RCare is the provider of advanced wireless nurse call systems for senior communities across the senior care continuum. With the integration of temperature sensors, water sensors, and other environmental sensors, RCare provides care staff with the extra tools they need to keep seniors safe, even if the resident never pressed a button.
RCare is headed to the Music City Center in Nashville, for this year’s THCA/TNCAL Convention and Trade Show. We’ll be exhibiting alongside trusted integrator South Western Communications in booth 603.
We’re delighted to invite you to our special VIP Cocktail Hour on Monday evening, hosted by RCare, South Western Communications, and PointClickCare. If you’re at the show, be sure to stop by the Decker & Dyer Lounge in the Westin Nashville at 6pm, and join us for networking, socializing, and a delightful evening. We’d love to meet you.
At the trade show, we’ll be in the South Western Communications booth, exhibiting our full line of RCare nurse call technology. Stop by to say hello to Gary Jones, our Director of National Sales. And while you’re there, take a look at our full range of nurse call systems, for large and small communities. Check out the exciting updates to the RMetrix Reporting and Analytics package that comes with all of our nurse call systems. And check out the new Enterprise RMetrix features, designed to help you provide the most effective and efficient care across all sites in your organization.
While you’re there, you’ll also want to get a look at our new GeoPendant, a sleek pushbutton pendant that allows you to customize safe zones for each resident. Discreet alerts let caregivers know when the resident moves outside the defined safe zone, and lets you pinpoint their location. Residents get the independence to move about freely and safely.
For smaller communities, check out the BCube, our full-featured nurse call system, designed and priced exclusively for small communities and smaller budgets.
See you in Nashville!
THCA/TNCAL Convention & Trade Show
August 27-30, 2017
Music City Center
South Western Communications – Booth 603
PointClickCare – Booth 630
201 5th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
on Twitter: @THCATNCAL
on Facebook: @tennesseehealthcareassociation
Monday, Aug 28 10:30am-12:30pm
Monday, Aug 28 2:00pm-4:00pm
Tuesday, Aug 29 9:30am-11:30am
VIP Cocktail Hour
Co-hosted by RCare, South Western Communications & PointClickCare
Monday, Aug 28 6:00pm-8:00pm
Decker & Dyer Social Lounge (hotel bar)
807 Clark Pl, Nashville