RCare News & Blog

RCare Observes Juneteenth

RCare Observes Juneteenth

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, is an American holiday that commemorates the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the United States were finally freed. Although the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863 abolished slavery in the United States, many slaveholders didn’t comply with the order until Union troops arrived to enforce it, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. June 19, nicknamed Juneteenth, was chosen as a day to celebrate freedom for all.

New York’s Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order this year, recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees. He said in an accompanying statement, “Friday is Juneteenth – a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States – and it’s a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history. Although slavery ended over 150 years ago, there has still been rampant, systemic discrimination and injustice in this state and this nation, and we have been working to enact real reforms to address these inequalities.”

RCare is closing early to allow our team to join in the celebration, to honor our nation’s rich and diverse history, and to take time to reflect on America’s achievements and its flaws, and its efforts to address the ongoing social injustice that continues today against our brothers and sisters. It is our hope that by honoring Juneteenth, RCare is making a small contribution to making this country a better place.

A Backup Plan: Using Central Station Monitoring to Ensure Every Call is Answered

A Backup Plan: Using Central Station Monitoring to Ensure Every Call is Answered

It is the middle of the night. Joyce from Room 118 gets up to answer the call of nature, and falls in the bathroom. She presses her pendant button. What happens next?

The answer is, it depends. Usually, the call is received, and an aide arrives at Joyce’s room to help her. The speed at which this occurs can depend on how reliable and robust the call light system is.

But sometimes there are added complications:

  • Perhaps Joyce lives in an Assisted Living community that is lightly staffed late at night, as a cost-saving measure. Unfortunately, at the same time that Joyce needs help, the staff are busy answering other residents, which means Joyce will wait where she’s fallen until the staff is done.
  • Perhaps Joyce lives in a low-income senior housing unit, and there’s nobody staffed to even answer the call. She’ll just have to wait on the floor until tomorrow morning at 8am when she receives the automated check-in phone call. When she doesn’t answer the phone, she’ll be added to a list for someone to check on later in the day.
  • Maybe Joyce lives in Independent Living. Normally there’s someone at the night desk to receive calls, but tonight the WiFi went out, and push button calls weren’t received by the system during the 30-minute outage. Unfortunately, Joyce’s call will go unanswered.
  • Or maybe there’s an extraordinarily high volume of calls that come in right before Joyce’s call. Unfortunately, she will simply have to wait, hoping that someone received her call.

Not only is Joyce fearful and agitated, she is now at risk for dehydration, pressure sores, increased blood pressure and heightened anxiety. All of these factors can lead to a potential bad outcome for Joyce.

What can be done? How can we ensure that all residents get the help and support when they need it?

Introducing: RCare’s Central Station Monitoring Service

No matter how great your staff and your nurse call system, sometimes you need backup to make sure that none of your residents slip through the cracks. RCare has partnered with Security Central, a nationally licensed service provider with a track record for excellence and reliability. Security Central has been in business for 57 years. Their staff is available 24/7 to answer the phones, and based on the pre-set protocols for your community, to take appropriate action.

With the integration of central station monitoring into your RCare nurse call system, you can be sure that every call is answered. Depending on your pre-set protocols, the operator may first contact the resident to confirm that it isn’t a false alarm and that help is really needed. Once this has been determined, the operator will gather additional essential information before contacting emergency responders.

No matter how great your staff and your nurse call system, sometimes you need backup to make sure that none of your residents slip through the cracks.

Or, your protocol may call for a series of escalating calls to be made, e.g. first to the on-call staff, then to the facility director, then to family members, and finally to 911 (when needed). It’s entirely flexible and customizable to fit your community, your caregivers and your administrators.

You might decide that any call that has not been answered by staff after a predefined period of time can be escalated to the central monitoring system.

Not to mention, if your community experiences a tech emergency, RCare’s cellular failover backup means calls are received even during power and WiFi outages.

Who benefits from Central Station Monitoring?

From Independent Living, to Assisted Living, to Skilled Nursing, to Affordable Housing communities, Central Station Monitoring can provide endless benefits. The integration with RCare’s nurse call system ensures that room-level information is routed immediately to someone who can help.

RCare’s Central Station Monitoring works over a standard phone line, IP, or cellular. Cellular is also available as a backup option for phone lines or IP setups.

Emergencies happen and response time is critical. RCare’s integration with Security Central provides a proven, cost-effective model to provide critical, life-saving services for your residents when it matters the most.

Want to learn more? Contact RCare.

RCare’s Rapid Deployment Kit Fills Nurse Call Need for UMass Temporary Hospital

RCare’s Rapid Deployment Kit Fills Nurse Call Need for UMass Temporary Hospital

The Challenge:
UMass Memorial Hospital had a problem. At the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, it was being flooded with patients, and needed to expand capacity, fast. 

The Solution:
To convert the 50,000 square foot Exhibit Hall of the DCU Center, a convention center and arena, into a “pop-up” temporary field hospital, to handle the overflow of patients.

The Timeline:
They had just ten days. They finished in eight.

The Story:
The DCU Center is an indoor arena and convention center in downtown Worcester, MA. In April, its Exhibition Hall was converted to a field hospital to help nearby UMass Memorial Hospital handle the overflow of COVID-19 patients, those sick enough to require hospitalization, but not sick enough to require ICU care or a ventilator. It was repurposed to act as both a field hospital led by UMass, and a shelter for homeless people who tested positive for the disease.

Despite the unconventional setting, with its many challenges, the quality of care needed to be top-notch, and that included the nurse call system. It had to be quick to install, and completely reliable, because lives would depend on it.

Signet Electronic Systems, a trusted RCare integrator, used RCare’s Rapid Development Kit (RDK) nurse call solution to help UMass create the temporary hospital. The installation was quick, smooth and successful. 

Signet has a long-standing relationship with UMass Memorial Health Care. It installs the majority of the beds in both of their Worcester campuses as well as satellite locations, with high-end wired nurse call solutions, in addition to managing other systems such as public address and master clocks. They knew they could count on RCare for a solution that works.

A Rapid Deployment Kit nurse call system includes a touchscreen server, one pendant for each patient, and four pagers. No internet connection is needed for the system, and no phone lines. The system is designed to be plug and play, and is pre-programmed to be ready to use right out of the box. One RCare RDK is fully programmed for up to 40 patients and 4 caregivers, however it can be expanded with RCare’s Expansion Kits. Patient beds are outfitted with clip-on placards that correspond to patient call buttons, so caregivers can see which patients are calling. RCare’s G4 platform provides best-in-class range to cover large campuses and deepen building penetration, which allows it to be reliable in any setting. 

UMass Temporary Hospital - Interior

The UMass temporary hospital was created in a 50,000 sq ft exhibition hall with cube-type barriers separating patient spaces. Nothing could be permanently mounted. The server was placed behind folding tables that nurses use for charting, on a box, with the paging encoder on top of it. Locators were hung on centrally-located poles with tie wraps. The server and paging encoder were plugged into a network switch with a patch cable. Pendants were given to the staff for distribution to patients as they were admitted. The openness of the space proved to be a benefit for signal transmission, allowing calls to be initiated from a pendant and received the full length of the space.

The system was installed overnight, and was completed and tested the following morning. Mark Roy, Senior Client Executive at Signet, described the scene. 

“Everyone was in there doing everything at the same time. Hospital folks were setting up computers, networking and other technical infrastructure, pharmacy was loading Picsys machines, Biomed was setting up all their equipment, contractors were running O2 infrastructure, and news crews were there at the same time, documenting the whole thing. 

Despite the tight schedule, Mark praised the UMass staff, who were very helpful, and provided everything needed in record time.

RCare’s Rapid Deployment KitUMass returned the compliment. Sean Grady, Unit Coordinator for UMass Memorial said this about the installation:

“The RCare rollout was probably the best of any  vendor rollout involved with the DCU project. From project management to technical install, it could not have gone any more smoothly. I can tell you that the nurse call system has worked great for us at the field hospital we have set up in Worcester.”

RCare is proud to be part of the solution for this ambitious project. Our Rapid Deployment Nurse Call Kit (RDK) is a plug-and-play, portable, pre-programmed nurse call system in a box that can be set up in hours instead of days, in a situation lacking standard infrastructure, while providing the critical, reliable communications required in a hospital setting, even a non-traditional one.

Related Post – RCare’s Rapid Deployment Nurse Call Kit – an Emergency Nurse Call System in a Box

RCare’s Rapid Deployment Nurse Call Kit – an Emergency Nurse Call System in a Box

RCare’s Rapid Deployment Nurse Call Kit – an Emergency Nurse Call System in a Box

The numbers of infected patients continues to rise, and hospitals in hard-hit areas are being forced to expand rapidly and efficiently. RCare can help. Our staff have been working hard, assembling Rapid Deployment Nurse Call Kits. These kits provide effective, reliable nurse call communications between patients and caregivers, and between equipment and caregivers, even in non-healthcare, field operations environments.

These plug-and-play systems are preprogrammed by RCare’s expert technicians and ready for use immediately out of the box. They include one small touchscreen server, one pendant for each resident or patient, and four pagers. Expansion kits are available. Only one internet connection is required, and no landlines are necessary.

“Our mission here is to help win this war.” – Myron Kowal, RCare founder and CEO

Designed for speed of implementation, and ease-of-use in emergency situations, RCare’s Rapid Deployment Kit installs in only five minutes and offers a reliable, secure nurse call system in a box. RCare’s G4 platform provides best-in-class range to cover even the largest of campuses and deepen building penetration. UL 1069 version available. Contact RCare to find out more.

RCare Releases Rapid Deployment Nurse Call Kit for Hospitals Coping with COVID-19

RCare Releases Rapid Deployment Nurse Call Kit for Hospitals Coping with COVID-19

When there’s a national health crisis, RCare can help you be ready.

Designed for speed and ease-of-use in emergency situations, RCare’s Rapid Deployment Kit installs in only five minutes and offers a reliable, secure, 40-patient nurse call system in a box. RCare’s G4 platform provides best-in-class range to cover even the largest of campuses and deepen building penetration.

“The overall risk from this virus is still unknown, but what we do know is that many hospitals and providers are being overwhelmed with patients,” said Myron Kowal, CEO of RCare. “We decided to quickly extend our technology capabilities to places where they are in dire need.”

The plug-and-play system is preprogrammed by RCare’s expert technicians and ready for use immediately out of the box. It includes one small touchscreen server, one pendant for each resident or patient, and four pagers. Expansion kits are available. Only one internet connection is required, and no landlines are necessary.

RCare Rapid Deployment Kit Includes:

  • NurseCall Master with Integrated Touchscreen Console
  • 40 Pushbutton Pendants (waterproof; reusable if disinfected or disposable)
  • 40 Clip-On Bed Signs
  • 4 Alpha-Numeric Apollo Pagers
  • G4 Master Receiver
  • 2 G4 Locators
  • Single-Input Serial Page Encoder 5W
  • Compact, Heavy Duty Pelican Case
  • Easy step-by-step instructions and link to instructive video

The touchscreen console displays incoming patient calls with an audible tone. Patient beds are outfitted with clip-on placards that correspond to patient call buttons, so caregivers know which patients are calling. UL 1069 version available. If interested please contact us.

RCare Hits the Road in Multi-City Roadshow Tour

RCare Hits the Road in Multi-City Roadshow Tour

RCare is hitting the road for a multi-city roadshow tour this spring. Each stop is a content-rich seminar, exclusive for RCare distributors.

These two-day seminars are a chance to take a deep dive into the ever-changing senior living industry and into RCare’s innovative and expanding product line. Understanding senior living communities and their needs is key to customizing a perfect solution, providing the latest features to help caregiving staff provide the highest level of care, while increasing efficiencies and the bottom line. RCare’s latest innovations also include solutions to help a broader cross-section of the market.

“We’ve been adding important functionality rapidly in the last few years, and that’s not going to stop anytime soon,” said RCare Founder and CEO Myron Kowal. “The roadshow is diving deep into our new technologies, best practices and latest integrations.”

RCare Roadshow Product TrainingWhat are some of RCare’s latest innovations?

RCare’s HCube for Affordable Housing is a system built and designed exclusively for affordable and subsidized senior housing. The HCube combines all of the critical capabilities of RCare’s flagship wireless nurse call technologies at a fraction of the cost. It features low cost of entry, minimal hardware to maintain, and nominal ongoing fees. It requires only one internet connection for the entire facility, and no landlines.

RCare has integrated with Inovonics, and is an authorized Inovonics reseller, providing clients with a new line of products. Communities that are already equipped with Inovonics sensors can incorporate their existing devices into a new RCare nurse call solution. It’s a great opportunity to upgrade to a feature-rich RCare solution, while leveraging their existing hardware investment for cost savings.

iCall is RCare’s new full-IP wired nurse call system. It brings all of RCare’s powerful features to a full-IP wired solution, which makes RCare’s nurse call solutions available for the first time to communities that require a wired system. Communities also have the option to integrate iCall with RCare’s wireless solutions, providing the flexibility to customize the best solution across the entire community.

RCare’s interoperability with other market leading systems, including electronic medical records, wander management, and even Alexa, has helped make life simpler for administrators and caregivers by reducing redundant data entry and reducing the number of systems to monitor.

“We had a record year last year, and there’s a reason. We make a good product that helps a lot of people. And we keep making it better. And educating our distributors is critical because we always expect them to offer the best possible solution to our clients,” said Kowal.

Answer the Call: RCare CEO Myron Kowal featured on Bridge the Gap senior living podcast

Answer the Call: RCare CEO Myron Kowal featured on Bridge the Gap senior living podcast

RCare CEO and founder Myron Kowal was the feature of a recent Bridge the Gap podcast. He spoke with hosts Joshua Crips and Lucas McCurdy about the origins of RCare, the history, challenges, triumphs, and the future of nurse call systems as it relates to the aging population, and the critical importance of response times in senior living.

Kowal observed that 20 years ago, when everyone had home telephones, the early PERS devices “would call somebody on the telephone and say, hey, this person needed help. The cool thing about that was it had a voice to voice connection so when that person did call for help, they knew someone was coming. It was like, okay, someone’s on the way. I’m gonna be okay.”

As technology improved, the voice-to-voice interaction went away. “When that person pressed the button, they weren’t sure that someone was coming. They would hope that someone was coming and most of the time they did.”

If residents wait too long for help, or even if it just feels like they’ve waited too long, they try to do things on their own, and risk getting seriously hurt.

RCare did a pilot project with Fellowship Square in Arizona using Amazon Alexa. (See “Alexa, please call my nurse.“) “They’re able to say, ‘Alexa, I need help.’ And that would call a caregiver. And we have a voice-to-voice connection that says, ‘A caregiver is on the way.’ It makes people feel like I’m okay. That panic that ensues when you’re in trouble can cause a lot of things to happen.”

According to Kowal, he’s on an “answer the call kick.” If residents wait too long for help, or even if it just feels like they’ve waited too long, they try to do things on their own, and risk getting seriously hurt. 

In addition to offering voice-to-voice options, RCare wants to help communities reduce their response times. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure. You need to look at the data, draw your own conclusions, make your improvements, and then measure your effectiveness.” 

RCare provides detailed metrics to communities, to help them understand what their response times are, what factors affect the length of those response times, and how they can be improved. “What are the mean and average response times to calls? How many calls are we getting? How many caregivers are actually logged into the system in a facility where this is the number of calls that we have as opposed that are logged into the system? We can see those things right now by taking a look at that data, and we’re trying to give it back to the industry so that they can make those improvements.”

Check out the full Bridge the Gap podcast here.

Happy Anniversary to the Hotel Industry’s 5-Star Promise

Happy Anniversary to the Hotel Industry’s 5-Star Promise

One year ago, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) made a groundbreaking pledge to improve the safety and security of hotel workers in the United States. Member hotels were invited to commit to the 5-Star Promise, a voluntary pledge to improve the safety of their workers by improving their sexual harassment policies, training and resources. The most significant point of the 5-Star Promise was the promise to provide electronic safety devices (ESDs) to their staff, to keep them safe on the job.

When the 5-Star Promise began, there were 17 participating hotels and hotel chains nationwide. Now, just one year later, participation has grown to 56, a dramatic 230% increase. This represents an estimated 20,000 hotel properties, with an estimated 1.2 million employees who will be safer on the job.

“As an industry of people taking care of people, we have always been deeply committed to safety and security for our employees and guests. We have a responsibility to ensure they feel safe and secure,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “I’m proud of the progress we have made as an industry over the past year, and we will continue our efforts to ensure America’s hotels are safe places for all those who work in and visit them.”

“Just the possibility of danger has been enough of a morale depletant over the decades to give certain organizational roles a toxic aura.” – Larry Mogelonsky, Hotel Security Consultant

Housekeepers typically work alone. When confronted with risky situations, they have little protection. Stories abound of guests exposing themselves to workers, or worse. With an electronic safety device, the endangered worker presses a button to summon assistance from hotel security. The alert is sent automatically, and includes the location of the employee, so security can respond immediately to where help is needed.

The impact of the 5-Star Promise is even greater than just the safety and security of current employees. It also changes the perception of the job and its risks, which is critical to staffing, an important challenge for the industry.

“Just the possibility of danger has been enough of a morale depletant over the decades to give certain organizational roles a toxic aura. For instance, I don’t doubt for a second that the horror stories of housekeepers past have deterred many potential hires, thereby contributing to the current staffing problems we presently face,” according to hotel security consultant Larry Mogelonsky. “Given this likelihood for not only widely augmented safety but also improved morale and employee retention, I’m all over ESD adoption at any hotel worldwide.”

Why RCare?

Choosing the right ESD system is important. In case of an emergency, you want to ensure that your system works as needed in your facility. RCare’s wireless ALP Hospitality Suite can help. RCare has been an innovator and leader in the crisis alert and nurse call industry for over a decade. RCare’s systems have a proven track record for reliability and accuracy, even in the toughest conditions. RCare’s hotel crisis system uses military-grade RF, a signal protocol proven to be far more reliable than WiFi or Bluetooth, to ensure every alert is received. It has a wide listening range, even in the oldest buildings with challenging infrastructure. It uses Advanced Locating Protocol (ALP) to send location information with every call, so valuable time isn’t wasted determining where help is needed. Regardless of your hotel’s size or budget, RCare can help.

Want to know more about hotel duress systems? Contact RCare to find out how they can enhance safety and security for your hospitality staff.

Hotel Safety Devices: To Beep or Not to Beep

Hotel Safety Devices: To Beep or Not to Beep

The hotel industry is making great strides in protecting the safety of its workers. Cities and states have begun requiring hotels to provide their staff, especially those who work alone, such as housekeepers, with Employee Safety Devices (ESDs) for summoning help. 

Many more employees will be protected thanks to the hotel groups that have committed to the “5-Star Promise,” new safety standards for staff that includes a stipulation to “provide hotel employees with employee safety devices to help them feel safe on the job.

The results are promising, according to Security Magazine. In just one year, the number of hotel brands that have agreed to participate in the 5-Star Promise has increased from 17 to 56. That encompasses approximately 20,000 hotels employing over a million staff who will be protected.

Given the large percentage of hotel workers who have been threatened or harassed on the job (more than half, according to a survey of hotel workers in Chicago), this is a welcome development. 

So, what’s the problem? Hotels need to choose a safety system that will actually work to keep employees safe.

The city of Miami Beach is a case in point. Last year it passed an ordinance requiring safety devices for hotel employees. But, according to the Miami Herald, some hotels in the city have  simply provided workers with hand-held noisemakers, hoping to satisfy the law, which states that safety devices must “effectively summon prompt assistance to the employee’s location by a hotel or hostel security officer.”

Why Noisemakers Don’t Make the Safety Cut:

Will a simple noisemaker actually protect a housekeeper working alone on a floor? Probably  not. Even if other staff are working in the vicinity, the sound-deadening in the walls between rooms will likely prevent them from hearing the alarm. If security personnel don’t happen to be within hearing range, they are unlikely to know that help is needed. What’s more, the devices are easy to muffle or disarm, and even if heard, they may not be recognized as a call for help. Worse yet, a noisy alarm could “result in more physical harm to the employee” when the perpetrator tries to silence it or take it from the housekeeper, according to hospitality industry consultant Larry Mogelonsky.

What’s more, with noisemakers, it would be nearly impossible to know where to send help, who needs it, and whether it is still needed.

To truly protect hotel workers, alerts from hotel safety devices must reach hotel security, and must include location information, so that help can be sent quickly, and to the right place. The alerts must use a transmission protocol that works in buildings of any and all size and density. And they must convey location information 3-dimensionally, with both the floor of the hotel, and the location on the floor, where the help is needed. 

The city of Miami Beach followed up with a letter to the hotels within its city’s limits, clarifying the law. “Devices such as ‘noisemakers’ do not meet the requirements set forth in the ordinance, as they simply emit loud noise and do not disclose the location of the employee in need of prompt assistance,” the letter said. 

In case of an emergency, you want to ensure that everyone in your building feels protected and safe. RCare’s wireless ALP Hospitality Suite can help. This reliable and durable hotel crisis system uses military-grade RF, a signal protocol proven to be far more reliable than WiFi or Bluetooth, to ensure every alert is received. It has a wide listening range, even in the oldest buildings with challenging infrastructure. It uses Advanced Locating Protocol (ALP) to send location information with every call, so valuable time isn’t wasted determining where help is needed.

Want to know more about hotel duress systems? Contact RCare to find out how they can enhance safety and security for your hospitality staff.

Join RCare at the 2019 LeadingAge Expo in San Diego

Join RCare at the 2019 LeadingAge Expo in San Diego

LeadingAge is an enormous gathering of not-for-profit organizations across the entire field of aging services. It is designed for participants to think, to learn, to network and to grow. This year, the attendees are challenged to imagine the future of aging with the theme: “What if?”

We love this theme. RCare has always pushed the boundaries of what a nurse call system can do and we’ve continued to innovate with the phrase “what if” in mind.

What if your nurse call system could help you with resident satisfaction? What if it could help with staff retention? What if it could give you actionable data to help with QAPI? What if it could save your staff time by integrating with other systems you’re already using for wander management, door access, or records? What if it could save you money by working with your existing hardware? What if it could bring you powerful features, no matter what your size or budget?

You see, we have been thinking about this for a while. And we are inspired:

What if RCare gave you super powers? What if your response times became super response times?

This year at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo, RCare has a challenge for your community: “improve response times and improve your resident experience”.

What is the average response time for your community? Do you know? Can you measure it? Is it improving?

You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Everyone in the community benefits when response times improve. RCare gives you the power to look at your response times and make the change. When you do, you will start to see immediate benefits.

What if we vowed to build a solution customized to your needs?

What if we made it affordable?

What if we made it an easy choice?

No matter what kind of community, no matter what your size or budget, RCare can help. Stop by Booth #1624 and talk to RCare about how RCare’s advanced nurse call systems can empower you to make big improvements in your response times. And while you’re there, take your photo and post it on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #RMan or #RWoman for your chance to win great prizes.

2019 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo
October 27-30, 2019
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA
#LeadingAge19

RCare Booth #1624
Facebook: @rcareinc
Twitter: @ResponseCare
#LeadingAge19, #RMan, #RWoman

Expo Times/Dates:
Monday, October 28, 11:30am – 3:30pm
Tuesday, October 29, 12:00 – 3:30pm
Wednesday, October 30, 9:30 – 11:30am

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