RCare News & Blog

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

Don’t Panic Hotel Worker Safety

Don’t Panic Hotel Worker Safety

New Jersey has become the very first state to require panic buttons for hotel worker safety, a major win for the state’s hospitality industry.

For many hotel employees, the threat of violence or harassment is a serious risk, especially when working alone. “Sometimes it’s a long floor of rooms, and you may be the only one working there,” according to a Tropicana housekeeper.

Support for the law soared after a 2018 sexual assault of a staff housekeeper by a Bally’s Casino guest, according to NBC News. The guest, a 51-year-old male, pushed the female employee into a room and assaulted her.

Hotel employees have reported numerous instances of assault, attempted assault, and harassment. The threat is not always from guests. A housekeeper at Caesars reported that she once attempted to service a guest room, only to open the door to two charging dogs.

Governor Phil Murphy explained in a statement reported in USA Today, “We must protect the safety of workers in the hospitality industry. This new law will ensure that hotel employees performing their duties will have the means to summon immediate assistance if they are in danger.”

The new law requires that any employee who works alone in a hotel with more than 25 guest rooms must be provided with a panic button to carry or wear at work.

How do hotel duress systems work?

Employees are provided with a push button pendant to wear on their wrist or a lanyard, or carry in a pocket. When the button is pressed, it transmits the signal wirelessly to a central station, typically in the hotel’s security headquarters. The most effective systems include the location of the call, and information about who requested help.

RCare, Inc. is the maker of the wireless Hospitality Suite. 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.

While New Jersey is the first state to mandate hotel duress systems, several cities, including Sacramento, Long Beach, and Chicago, have passed similar laws, and a few major hotel firms have taken the lead in proactively providing these devices for their employees’ safety.

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

Calling all Superheroes: Join RCare at the AHCA/NCAL Convention and Expo

Calling all Superheroes: Join RCare at the AHCA/NCAL Convention and Expo

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.

Are you going to the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo in Orlando this year? Are you “ready for any challenge?” RCare is ready to provide you with the latest and greatest technologies and reporting tools to help you improve your response time. Are you ready to accept this challenge?

This industry spends countless dollars catering to residents’ needs, wants and desires. So, what do we come up with? Enhanced workout centers, bistros (OK, everybody likes bistros), golf putting greens, insides that look like the outside, fake clouds, circadian lighting, and the list goes on and on.

But we are not addressing the single most important thing we can do for residents. Improve call response times. Response times are critical to resident health, resident safety and resident satisfaction. When residents are admitted, they’re instructed to push the button or pull the cord whenever they need help. What they don’t know is that most likely it will take around 8-15 minutes for someone to respond.

When a resident needs help, they need to know that their call was received, and that help will arrive soon. Otherwise, you know what will happen: they’ll try to take care of things themselves, whether it’s getting out of bed, using the restroom, taking a shower. And, too often, that leads to falling.

What is the average response time for your community? Do you know? Is it the same for every shift? Every wing? Can you measure it? Is it improving? Are you proud of it?

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. And everyone in the community benefits when response time improves. Look at your response times and make the change. When you do, you will start to see immediate benefits.

No matter what kind of community, no matter what your size or budget, RCare can help. Stop by Booth #1512 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.

RCare at the AHCA-NCAL Convention and Expo

RCare provides you the power to improve your response time! Who’s ready to take on this challenge? #RMAN #RWoman #RCareChallenge

Myron Kowal, Founder and CEO of RCare

Myron Kowal
Founder and CEO of RCare

AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo
October 14–16, 2019
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL

RCare Booth #1512
Expo Times/Dates
Monday, Oct. 14, 11:30am-3:00pm
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 10:30am-1:30pm

#AHCANCAL19 #RMan #RWoman

Alexa, please call my nurse: an RCare Alexa case study

Alexa, please call my nurse: an RCare Alexa case study

The Problem

Your resident experiences an emergency, but isn’t wearing a pendant. How would you know? How do they call for help?

Jon Scott Williams, Executive Director of Fellowship Square-Mesa is familiar with this issue. “Until they’ve experienced their first crisis, our residents aren’t always as diligent about wearing the pendants as we would like them to be.”

The Solution

A touchless and pendant-free nurse call option: Voice Commands

During an emergency, residents may not be able to reach a pull cord or press a pendant button. The problem can be even greater for low-vision residents. RCare’s Alexa integration allows residents a touchless and pendant-free solution to verbally request help, using the simple command: “Alexa, tell my nurse I need help.”

The command “Alexa, tell my nurse to check in” can be used for daily check-in. Voice commands can be helpful for staff, too. Hands-on caregivers can verbally request emergency backup or dismiss/silence alerts for the incident without ever taking their eyes off the resident. This helps to communicate to others that the call has been addressed.

With RCare Mobile, caregivers can speak directly with residents, assess the emergency and assure them that help is on the way. Caregivers can use this information to bring the right supplies and proactively request back-up support if needed. Caregiver calls are automatically answered by the patient’s in-room communicator, so the resident doesn’t need to do or touch anything to talk. The outcome? Faster response times, better resident satisfaction, and more efficient and effective care.

Sending Help Where It’s Needed

What if a resident experiences a crisis outside of their room? How will you find them when they need help? RCare’s advanced locating protocol (ALP) pinpoints and sends the location of the call with every alert. Caregivers know which floor, and exactly where on the floor, the call came from. When minutes matter, there are no wasted trips to the resident’s room when the resident is elsewhere in the community.

Fellowship Square-Mesa

An early adopter of Amazon Alexa for its residents, Fellowship Square-Mesa is a 385-bed senior community in Arizona, offering care across the continuum, including low-income assisted living. The community installed an Amazon Alexa Dot in every residence, to provide residents with an easy-to-use voice technology to request concierge services, look up information, find out about the daily activities schedule and menu, to schedule appointments, and to request help through their RCare nurse call system.

Keep Hotel Employees Safe in the Workplace

Keep Hotel Employees Safe in the Workplace

This summer, the city of Sacramento passed legislation requiring hotels to provide panic buttons to help keep hotel employees safe. The city follows on the heels of the surrounding county, which earlier passed such legislation for hotels in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Numerous housekeepers from Sacramento hotels appeared before the legislature to tell their stories. In one case, a man had started stalking a housekeeper as she cleaned. Each time she would leave a room, he was there, waiting for her. To escape him, she locked herself into a guest room and called security, before she could carry on working. In another story, a male guest requested that a housekeeper bring him a bottle of mouthwash. When she arrived at the room, he didn’t answer her knock, although she knocked three times, as required by hotel policy. When she entered the room, she found him waiting to expose himself to her. She dropped the bottle of mouthwash and fled, according to an account in The Sacramento Bee.

How common is the problem? A survey of nearly 500 women working at hotels and casinos in the Chicago area found that 58% of hotel workers had experienced some type of sexual harassment by guests, sometimes multiple times, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Sacramento joins a growing list of cities, states, and unions that are requiring these safety devices for vulnerable hotel employees. And, California is currently considering legislation to expand protection to workers in hotels throughout the state.

“No one should ever be fearful doing their job, least of all associates on-property who are so vital to the success of our company and our industry,” said Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International.

When confronted with a threatening situation, panic buttons allow the worker to simply press a button. The button sends an alert to on-site security, who can intervene.

In order for the panic buttons to be effective, they need to provide help quickly. The alerts need to be sent immediately, and the response to the alert must be quick. Knowing the location of the employee who made the call, so that assistance can be sent to the right place, is critical to rapid response, according to hotel security expert Einar Rosenberg. It is also a difficult feature to find in hotel duress systems.

One system that has locating capability, along with proven reliability, is the Hospitality Suite by RCare, Inc. In addition to its alerting features, the system also provides response time data, to help hotels monitor and improve response times to employee emergencies.

RCare ensures reliability for sent and received alerts with their military-grade RF, a signal protocol proven to be far more reliable than WiFi or Bluetooth. And it has a wide listening range, even in the oldest buildings with challenging infrastructure.

“This is about expressing how we at the local level value the protection of women in the workplace,” said Sacramento county supervisor Phil Serna

When it comes to keeping hotel employees safe in the workplace, you can count on RCare’s wireless ALP Hospitality Suite.

Contact RCare to find out how they can enhance the safety and security for your hospitality staff.

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