RCare News & Blog
RCare wants to protect you with RPhone.
Social media is everywhere and while it’s a wonderful way for families and friends to keep in touch, it can also be an extremely dangerous HIPAA liability. But don’t take our word for it. Here are just a few recent McKnight’s headlines that will shock you. These are actual headlines. And they’re scary.
What do all these cases have in common? It was staff members using their personal cell phones while working. Why? Because so many pager-based systems don’t provide the communication capabilities that employees need. So, they resort to their personal phones for staff communications which already presents a HIPAA risk. Add to it the temptation of using their cameras and social media and you’ve got a lawsuit waiting to happen.
All three of these cases all could have been prevented with RCare’s RPhone.
The RCare RPhone is a HIPAA-compliant, secured and locked-down mobile caregiving device. It eliminates the need for personal cell phones.
Tell your staff to leave their cell phones in their lockers. With the RPhone, your staff will have all the features of a smartphone, except for the ones you don’t want. No photos. No access to the Internet. No social media. No access to protected health data off campus.
What can RPhones do? Receive nurse call alerts. Talk with residents. Claim calls with the “I got it” feature. Receive complete information about the resident who called. Access data over the company’s internal WiFi. Collect information, including which caregiver(s) received the alert, who claimed the alert, which caregiver entered the resident’s room, the duration of the visit, services rendered and the caregiver notes.
The RPhone is better than “their phone.” It is completely encrypted and HIPAA-compliant. It does not allow photos to be taken, does not have access to the Internet or personal social media platforms. It connects to internal campus WiFi, and will not function off campus to protect private data. It is economical and efficient.
RPhones are equipped with NFC readers, allowing responders to check in and out of the point of care as well as immediately document what services they performed for billing and accounting purposes.
The technology you choose for your community could have a big impact on your exposure to privacy risks.
Don’t let this happen in your community. Get personal phones out of the work place. RPhone. (Not “their” phone.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
They had just ten days. They finished in eight.
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.
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.
UMass 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.
Nurse call systems for emergency situations: RCare’s Rapid Deployment Kit is a portable nurse call system in a box. Designed for ease-of-use, it’s quick to deploy and ready to use in a crisis.
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 Systems 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 nurse call 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 a pandemic, a natural disaster, or other emergency situations, RCare’s Rapid Deployment Kit installs in only five minutes and offers a reliable, secure nurse call systems 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 certified nurse call systems available NOW. Contact RCare to find out more.
Is your nurse call system helping your QAPI efforts?
It should be.
Quality Assurance, and Performance Improvement are on everyone’s minds these days. Because of the new CMS regulations, QAPI is the latest watchword in long-term care and skilled nursing facilities across the country. No doubt your senior community already has an implementation strategy in place for moving forward. But here’s something you may not have realized: Your nurse call system can play an important role in the success of your QAPI program.
RCare is the global provider of advanced, wireless nurse call systems. We’ve designed our nurse call systems to give you the tools you need for your QAPI program. Why are so many communities overlooking the value of nurse call systems for QAPI? It might be because they’re not using RCare.
Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement
1. Caregiver response data. When a resident pulls a cord or pushes a button on their PERS pendant, your caregiving staff responds. It’s one of many services provided in your senior community. And like all other services, it is subject to QAPI. You not only need to know that you’re meeting regulatory minimums of care, you also need hard data to identify ways to improve–even if you’re already doing a good job. RCare provides this data, including response times, call volumes, shift-by-shift comparisons, and even which services are most often provided at the point of care. This data can be key in setting baselines, in planning new ways to improve, and in measuring the effectiveness of changes.
2. Resident call data. Who is calling most frequently? How often do they call, and at what time of day or night? What services are performed? QAPI requires that you look for how things are going routinely. It also requires that you investigate your outliers. Are there needs that aren’t being met well in your facility? Are there individuals who need a change in care plan? What does your data show? With RCare, you’ll know.
3. Environmental response data. Not all calls are triggered by a request from a resident. It’s important to keep tabs on the safety and comfort of the resident’s environment as well. Are your refrigerators keeping food and meds at a safe temperature around the clock? RCare’s refrigerator sensors record data continuously, and alert the staff if the temperature slips out of range. Is a resident having a restless night? RCare’s motion sensors can let you know if there’s unexpected movement in the middle of the night. Did a tub overflow? RCare’s water sensor alerts staff, who can intervene, often before the resident even knows there’s a problem. Integrated right into RCare’s nurse call system, every alert is sent quietly and discreetly. With the “I got it” feature, caregivers can now claim calls avoiding duplication and negligence concerns.
In your job, there’s a lot expected of you. You should expect a lot from your nurse call system. RCare offers the most advanced wireless nurse call technology, for large or small facilities. RCare wants to join efforts and support you as you develop your QAPI program.
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.
Nearly half of all skilled nursing facilities in the U.S. have fewer than 120 beds. In fact, according to the Nursing Home Data Compendium of 2015 by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, there are close to 8,000 skilled nursing communities that have fewer than 100 beds. This leaves a lot of small senior living providers with few options to provide top-quality care to people who deserve the very best.
Advanced nurse call systems such as RCare’s standard advanced nurse call system offerings are complex and feature-rich. Typical installations may be in large facilities that have hundreds of beds, a large staff and many receivers and transmitters collecting information throughout the facility. (Think nurse stations, nurse call buttons, pull-cords, door sensors, etc.) The system may include dozens of mobile devices carried by caregiving staff and administration. Managing all these devices and their communications with one another requires an enterprise-class computer server. But along with this robust technology comes a price tag that isn’t affordable for small campuses. So, they simply don’t have access to the best advanced nurse call options available to other communities.
RCare recognized this underserved population and decided to address it by engineering a customized, scaled and innovative solution designed for small campuses with this great need and smaller budget. RCare realized that first and foremost, the approach to the design needed to change. Small campuses simply don’t need the robust enterprise-level server hardware. A much smaller computer can easily manage the job, while saving on unnecessary hardware costs. There are also far fewer transmitters and devices in a smaller facility, which results in fewer communications. This means the lower horse-power of a smaller computer can efficiently and effectively handle and distribute the communications from each of the devices. So, which computer could do this at the right cost? That may be the cleverest part. RCare took an existing RCare nurse desk console unit and reengineered it to act as the server itself, in addition to its regular duties as a nurse station.
The result is the RCare BCube. Now, for the first time, smaller senior living communities will be able to afford and deploy caregiving technology previously only available to the big players. They will be able to get the very best technology available, at a fraction of the price. With the BCube, the facilities get the benefits of the existing, thoroughly developed, tested, and supported functionality of the larger RCare solutions, but re-engineered to serve the smaller installation.
The BCube nurse stations function like the nurse stations of the larger cube products, reporting sensor information, alert statuses and ensuring caregiver accountability. And the BCube provides the important accountability capabilities of the larger systems, including analytics, reporting and the RPhone “I Got It” caregiving accountability tool.
The BCube was designed only for smaller communities and is limited to installations with fewer than 128 beds. But what if a small campus expands and gets hundreds of additional beds and tries to deploy hundreds more push buttons and other devices? RCare thought of that too. It is seamlessly forward compatible and easily upgradable to larger and more robust RCare solutions, without hassle or inconvenience.
RCare’s revolutionary new BCube.
Best fit for you
That is not the question. The question is When?
It’s your first week on the job for a small caregiving staff at a 50-bed skilled nursing community. The intimate and family-like feeling of the community is what drew you in to begin with. And so far, you have met almost all of the residents and you like the small team of carers that you work with.
But, there is one thing that is frustrating to you. When multiple calls come in from residents, you are given no information on what to expect, what to bring and how urgent it is. On this Saturday evening, you receive two calls within minutes of each other, from Rooms 101 and 134. It could be a fall, a request for help to get out of bed or just someone needing a glass of water. The readout on the caregivers’ pagers simply shows the time of the call with a room number. You wonder whether someone is already handling the calls or perhaps most importantly, which resident do you prioritize to check on first?
The problem is that you need some more information to properly prioritize the calls. But you just don’t have it. You don’t know if it’s an emergency, or the resident history, or what to bring along, or if they happen to have allergies you should know about. You’re stuck in an impossible situation. You know you can’t possibly provide the best care without having the facts. So what to do?
Well the call from Room 101 came in first, so that’s the one you answer. But, your coworker is also there when you get there. Turns out Ruth accidentally pressed the button. Now two of you have responded to this non-emergency situation simultaneously, while Henry in Room 134 has slipped in the bathroom, is extremely frightened, and nobody is there to assist him.
If you work in a larger facility, you may have the benefit of a high-tech call system that can help you sort that all out. High-end advanced nurse call systems, like RCare’s flagship solution called the RCube, sends you all of the information you need to various communication devices, lighting platforms or even to nurse call console stations. Communities can go one step better and use secured, encrypted mobile devices such as the RCare RPhone to securely receive all information and have two-way communication between the caregiving staff, administration and even to the residents.
You can talk to the resident, gauge the situation, bring the correct supplies, reassure that you’re on the way, and prioritize. These RPhones also allow caregiving staff to claim responsibility using the “I Got it” feature, informing the rest of the staff that you’re responding to this call, eliminating duplicate efforts and ensuring accountability.
Around half of all skilled nursing facilities in the U.S. have fewer than 120 beds. That’s a lot of hard-working, compassionate caregivers who have inadequate tools to provide care, and a lot of seniors who don’t benefit from new caregiving technology and improved response times.
But because you work in a smaller facility, you simply don’t have this kind of high end technology. Instead, you are stuck with a low-information nurse call system that gives you beeping pagers and loud intercom messages. It’s really not fair to your residents and to the caregivers striving to provide top-notch quality care. So, If the technology is available, why don’t smaller facilities use it? It’s because high-end, advanced nurse call technology is simply unaffordable for small campuses.
Well, that is until now.
Introducing the RCare BCube: Best Little Nurse Call System Ever. Designed, customized and scaled for the smallest skilled and assisted living communities, with all of the features of the big time advanced nurse call systems, at a fraction of the price. Now, even the smallest senior living communities can afford to have the best nurse call technology for their staff and their residents.
So to BCube or not to BCube?
That’s never been the question. The real question is, how soon can I get it installed?
The RCare BCube. All the monitoring, communication and reporting features of our large flagship RCare advanced nurse call system, scaled and priced for a smaller facility.
RCare is not only proud to be the maker of the most advanced wireless nurse call and advanced monitoring systems in the world, but we’re also honored to be a member and advocate of the Eden Alternative initiative.
What is The Eden Alternative? It’s a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for elders and their care partners. “In a culture that typically views aging as a period of decline, the Eden Alternative philosophy asserts that no matter how old we are or what challenges we live with, life is about continuing to grow. Building on this new paradigm, it affirms that care is not a one-way street, but rather a collaborative partnership.”
That’s one of the many reasons that RCare supports The Eden Alternative. RCare’s mission is to improve the lives of elders and those who care for them. We’ve been diligently working at this mission since our founding in 2006, and our innovations in user-friendly, easy-to-learn technology have allowed us to help more and more elders and caregivers every year. We take the time to understand caregiving and the unique issues facing each community to build customized solutions that last.
One of our latest innovations, the GeoPendant, is an example of our commitment to the quality of life of elders and carers. An attractive pendant that can be worn on a neck loop or on the wrist, the GeoPendant’s first function is that of a PERS pendant. But the GeoPendant does a lot more. It lets caregivers define geographical safe zones for elders who need them. Should the elder leave that safe zone, the care staff receive an alert so that they can discreetly intervene.
Like everyone else, elders value their independence and dignity. Moving to a locked ward is a big step that should only be taken when there is no other option. For many, the GeoPendant can now be that other option. Elders wearing the GeoPendant are free to go about their day, within an area defined as safe for them. The only time their movements are brought to anyone’s attention is if they move outside their personalized safe zone.
This is especially useful with so called “mixed populations.” One does not develop a need for a locked memory care unit overnight. These needs arise slowly over time. This means that there are people who may need moderate wander management who live in completely open communities alongside many who do not need such assistance. With the GeoPendant, only those elders who need this type of care receive it, and they do so discreetly, without embarrassing sirens or alarms ringing through the hallways.
One of the truly innovative features of the GeoPendant is that it doesn’t use GPS. Instead, it uses the existing RCare equipment placed throughout the community to determine if you are, or are not, where it’s safe for you to be. Also, safe zones are not just defined in terms of horizontal area, but also vertically, for example by floor. This is because the device utilizes artificial intelligence. During setup it is taught where the safe zone is for a particular resident. The elder’s zone can be highly specific, even singling out precise rooms and corridors for in/exclusion.
GeoPendants are integrated into the wider RCare nurse call system, meaning staff won’t have multiple systems to monitor. If an elder moves out of a safe zone, the alert is sent to the high-powered nurse call system. Care staff receive the alerts on their HIPAA-compliant RPhone mobile handsets, just like any other nurse call.
Communities and senior advocates are increasingly drawing attention to the indignity of noisy alarms. They disrupt sleep. They disrupt daily life. They embarrass elders unlucky enough to trigger them. Worse, they may immobilize them, if the elders avoid activities that risk triggering an alarm. And, like the boy who cried wolf, frequent alarms tend to get tuned out, which could put elders at risk. RCare’s alerts are all quiet. Whether an elder pulls a cord, pushes a button, or leaves a safe zone, the alerts are sent silently to the care staff. Calls are “claimed” by a caregiver using the “I got it” button on the RPhone, ensuring that everyone’s call is answered, without carers duplicating their efforts.
Because the GeoPendant is a personal emergency response system as well as a location minder, elders who need both don’t need to carry two devices. In addition to discreetly safeguarding their whereabouts, the push button can be used to summon help at any time.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and by 2050, that number could be as high as 16 million. By mid-century, someone in the United States will develop the disease every 33 seconds.”
Dr. G. Allen Power is a physician and a senior advocate. In his book, Dementia Beyond Drugs:
Changing the Culture of Care, he argues that “care environments are often designed around the needs of the carers, rather than those with dementia.” This is an issue that The Eden Alternative is addressing. It’s important that both parties in the care partnership are respected and honored.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia doesn’t need to trigger an immediate loss of independence, even when it’s an effort to keep elders safe. The Eden Alternative challenges us to strive to enhance the well-being of elders by eliminating the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. RCare has accepted that challenge, and one outcome is the GeoPendant, designed to help elders live happier, more independent, more dignified lives. And at the same time, RCare is helping caregivers offer the best, most advanced care. For a small device, the GeoPendant is having a very big impact on the lives of elders and their care partners.