Tag Archive for: Long Term Care Providers

Reassessing Staffing Schedule

Finding the right balance for your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule is critical. Having too small of an overnight team can lead to slow call responses and delays between an alert and checking on a resident. Overstaffing, on the other hand, can be costly — and you may end up underutilizing your workers. Your facility has unique staffing needs based on your current facility size, available technology, and best practices. Utilize these tips help you more effectively assess your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule. 

1. Pay Attention to Staffing Regulations

Long-term care facilities must provide adequate staff to meet the needs of your residents. Your specific staff requirements can depend on the number of residents you have and their specific levels of care. Tracking that information through a staffing app can make it easier to keep up with the specific regulations in your area. You can also gain new insights into how they apply to your residents and facility.

2. Track Staff Utilization

One of the most effective ways to reassess your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule needs is taking a look at your current staff utilization. Do your employees frequently feel overworked or stressed, especially during overnight shifts? Do you have employees standing around with little to do on a regular basis? 

Track employee utilization and how they’re spending their time during their shifts. You can use a staffing app or ask employees and their supervisors to report:

  • The tasks they take care of during their shifts
  • How many employees were on that shift
  • How they think those factors impact patient care

Pay particular attention to what tasks staff members take care of during their shifts. Are staff members constantly on the go, with nonessential tasks getting put off until later? Or are staff members able to easily take care of the tasks they need to get done over the course of their shifts? Equally importantly, are staff members looking for work to do during their shifts? Too little to do can lead to low employee engagement and make it just as difficult to keep good, solid employees on your shifts as having too much work to do. You do not want your employees to feel as though they aren’t accomplishing their goals or are unable to provide adequate patient care.

3. Note Response Times

You never want a resident in your long-term care facility waiting too long to receive care from your staff, whether that resident has a medical issue or needs assistance getting out of bed, going to the toilet, and getting dressed. Typically, nurses and other staff members will have rounds that they perform in the morning and evening, helping residents get ready for the day or get ready for bed. 

It’s normal for there to be some delays during these busy times. But your residents should never have to wait too long for the attention they need. Track response times on a regular basis and set attainable goals. How long does it take between a resident indicating a need and a staff member responding? If you note your response times increasing, it could be time to increase the number of staff you have on hand. 

4. Utilize a Staffing Agency When Needed

Sometimes, you may temporarily need more employees in your long-term care facility. A staffing agency can provide you with those short-term employees. They can come in on a limited basis and take care of whatever tasks need to be done. Working with a staffing agency on a regular basis can help you create a better relationship with the agency. This will also provide that agency with more information about exactly what type of employees you need. 

5. Use Effective Caregiving Tools

Using the right caregiver tools can make a huge difference in your ability to track and report the care you’re providing to your patients. You can also use RCare Mobile to track ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living, including the time spent actually taking care of specific patients and their needs. 

Over time, this can provide you with much better insight into how many staff members you need on a shift at any given time. RCare’s nurse call reporting, for example, allows administrators to track response times and clearly identify scheduling gaps. You can even get more insight into times when your facility is overstaffed. 

RCare can offer the insights you need to help achieve better balance with your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule. You can leverage RCare reporting to identify where additional employees might be needed, and get a better look at how you are able to respond to and care for the residents in your facility.

feedback for improved care

Senior living communities serve the incredibly important purpose of helping elder residents stay as independent as possible while getting the assistance they need for daily tasks. It can be a delicate balancing act. In the U.S., over 1.3 million people over the age of 65 live in a long-term care community of some sort. Staff members strive to provide the best possible quality of life for each resident in these communities they call home. As in any industry, it’s important to collect feedback to ensure that we are not missing the mark. It sounds easy enough. In fact you may have residents who are very comfortable regularly providing input and advice. However, some residents may be resistant to providing opinions, or responses may be filtered and incomplete. Without this feedback it can be difficult to get a complete picture of overall satisfaction from residents. 

Obtaining elder resident feedback is a valuable tool for:

Formal surveys may be ineffective with this audience. Instead, try these tips to help routinely request feedback from elder residents.

Use Conversations as a Tool to Collect Elder Resident Feedback

When collecting feedback, your first instinct might be to create a survey. But all too often, this can lead to canned responses that provide limited insight. Instead, consider the usefulness of simple conversation. When a familiar staff member inquires about the quality of special foods, enjoyable activities during the day, and how a resident is feeling, valuable feedback can be gathered to determine if there is any room for improvement.

Many residents enjoy having amicable relationships with staff members and will open up when provided the opportunity. Instead of using questionnaires periodically, encouraging staff members to ask questions during their visits can provide valuable feedback about gaps in care or other areas of dissatisfaction. Adding a checklist to a daily or weekly paperwork can remind staff members to initiate these important conversations. When residents are given regular opportunities to share their feelings about their daily life, staff members are more likely to learn where minor changes could create major improvements.

Ask Targeted Questions

If someone asks you if you like living at your home, you’d probably say yes. But as much as you love your home, there would likely be some things you would want to change. Instead of simply asking residents if they enjoy living in the community, create a list of specific topics to bring up naturally in conversation. Factors that impact their quality of life can range from call response time to enjoying a favorite meal. Use these examples to initiate simple conversations that will provide insight into your residents and community:

  • Daily Life: Have you interacted with your friends here today? What activities do you enjoy here? When was the last time you got to go outside?
  • Health Care: How are you feeling today? Do you have any issues you’re concerned about? Do our nurses and other staff members respond quickly when you call?
  • Diet: What did you have to eat today? Did you like it? What’s the best thing we serve here? What’s the worst thing we serve here? What do you wish we could add to the menu?
  • General Satisfaction: What’s your favorite thing about our community? What do you like the least about staying here? Do you like your apartment? How could we improve it?

Create a Resident Council

There always residents who are more comfortable sharing their opinions than other. These advocates have deep relationships with others throughout the community and can be a great resource for more detailed feedback. Resident councils are becoming more and more frequent in eldercare communities. They are a great way to solicit feedback from influential members of the community and they help to get elders more directly involved in their care.  These groups can be helpful for planning events, as well as providing general feedback and advice.  They can also be a useful means to share information throughout the community. If you are looking for a more direct and structured way to gather information directly from the residents, a resident council could be the answer.

Involve Family Members

Family members and other visitors are a great resource for deeper insight into any thoughts or concerns regarding overall care. The purpose of surveying residents isn’t to receive 5-star reviews. The goal is to use feedback to improve the quality of life in the community. With this goal in mind, family members can become natural advocates to help lead to positive changes. Whether residents enjoy face-to-face visits or telephone conversations with their loved ones, their families and friends have insights your staff might not. Talking to them can be a valuable opportunity to gather information about residents’ needs and opinions.

Start Incorporating Elder Resident Feedback Into Your Business Processes

Feedback is an essential part of growth and improvement in any business. However, it’s particularly important in senior care facilities where residents may feel their opinions go unheard. When feedback is honest and complete, it can provide valuable sources of information that allow you to keep a consistent measure of the quality of care within your establishment. Browse our blog to learn more about the ways RCare can help you improve the quality of care for both residents and staff members in your long-term care facility.

Need wander management?  

We got wander management!  RCare is pleased to announce an integration with Accutech Security’s LS2400 wander management system.

wander managementAccutech’s solution is a low-cost wander system that provides resident ID, loiter and door-ajar monitoring, low tag battery as well as several other alerts without the need for a computer. It can provide resident ID and reporting capabilities at the door or nurses station with the optional touch-screen LCD display.  And now with the introduction of RCare integration, it is possible for communities to experience these capabilities directly from a browser or on their RCare Mobile nurse call handsets.

Long term care facilities can have multiple technology needs, but nobody wants to adopt three or four different solutions to address them all.  Technologies that work together, work the best.  Now your wander management can talk to your RCare nurse call system.

We think that’s the way it should be.

Small Senior Living Providers

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.

BCube for Small Senior Living ProvidersAdvanced 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.

BCube for Small Senior Living ProvidersThe 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.

Better technology
Bigger value
Best fit for you

Learn more.

With each passing year, technology is playing a more significant role in improving and enhancing the lives of our aging population. Not only do these devices combat isolation and depression by increasing communication, they also enable loved ones to regain their independence. At RCare, we believe in holistic senior empowerment, and we feel technology plays a critical role. We have come up with four vital segments of technology to provide seniors with the most bang for their buck.

  • Wireless Internet Access

Wireless Internet (or WiFi) has arguably become as essential to any  american household as running water or electricity. Everything can be accessed online or through a smartphone “app”, eliminating the need for a stationary personal computer at all.  Many family and friend communications, photo sharing and information exchanges happen on websites and social media networks.   Not to mention, many remote monitoring and alert services (think alarm, security and pendants) rely on WiFi connectivity. Without wireless Internet access, our senior population may feel disconnected and disengaged with the world around them.

  • Socialization Platforms, Smartphones & Tablets

Now that we’ve done away with the traditional stationary computer, adding a tablet, simplified communication device or smartphone into the residence of a senior is a great way to reconnect. Seniors can listen to music, read books, play cards, view photos, track their health, and even play games to promote brain health.  Choices range from your typical iPad/Samsung tablet manufacturers to devices specifically targeted to connect and engage seniors with their family and caregivers (e.g. www.grandcare.com)  Wow!

  • Wireless Remote Monitoring

For seniors wishing to secure more independence, wireless remote monitoring and crisis management systems like RCare can really save lives. Technologies ranging from motion detectors to door sensors to push pendants can monitor the activity patterns for signs of an emergency, without violating privacy.

  • G4 Advanced Locating Protocol

For a patient who may have wandering tendencies or memory loss, wearing a advanced location pendant and push button can be essential. While other systems may only give caregivers a general idea of a pushed pendant location, RCare allows care facilities to pinpoint nearly the exact location, and in a fraction of the time.

Want to learn more about the technology options available for Senior Housing? Contact us to learn more about what we do, or read through our FAQs and client testimonials.

RCare brews strong QAPI at the Quality Summit

What’s Brewing at the Quality Summit? QAPI.
Do you like your QAPI Strong? RCare can help.

Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) are on everyone’s minds these days. Because of 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.

RCare brews strong QAPI at the Quality SummitNext week RCare will be in New Orleans at the AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit, to show you how the right nurse call system can help you strengthen your QAPI program.

When a resident pulls a cord or pushes a button on their PERS pendant, your caregiving staff responds. Are any calls missed? How quickly does your staff respond? How accurate and complete is their information when they arrive? Right from the start of an incident, RCare can help you improve resident satisfaction and the quality of care. And right from the start of an incident, RCare can help you gather accurate, actionable data.

The Quality Summit is the third annual gathering of long-term and post-acute care quality leaders. For three days they’ll be learning best practices, networking with other professionals, and educating themselves about the latest issues in quality and compliance for skilled nursing, post-acute, and assisted living providers.

RCare will be the only Nurse Call System provider at the summit.

Stop by our table, have a cup of coffee on us, and let us show you how your nurse call system can help with QAPI.

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.

AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit
March 12-14, 2018
New Orleans Marriott
Expo Dates/Times
Monday: 11am–1pm, 2:30pm–3pm
Tuesday: 10am–10:30am, 1:30pm-2pm, 3:30pm–4pm
#QSUMMIT18
@ahcancal

HIPAA-Compliant RCare Mobile for Security

It happens every day and it’s the ultimate caregiving paradox: should caregivers limit the quality of care they offer by using inadequate tools? Or, should they give the best care possible, but violate federal privacy regulations, while putting your community at risk?

Yikes! Obviously, the correct answer is that neither should be practiced. And so often communities may end up doing both! This is even worse.

Despite the rapid advance of technology, long-term care communities often find themselves using outdated technology such as pager-based nurse call systems. When a patient presses the call button, caregivers are provided with simple, minimal information about the client or the nature of the call, sometimes receiving little more than the room number on the pager display. A standard system doesn’t even allow the two-way communication that would allow caregivers to talk to the client, and to prioritize the call. Many systems don’t specify which caregiver should take the call, or who has responded. This leads to an inefficient duplication of efforts where multiple caregivers may respond to the same alert or worse yet, nobody responds at all.

A recent study from the College of Nursing and Health at the University of Cincinnati identified the biggest problems caregivers had with nurse call systems as: the inability to locate the nurse, the inability to prioritize and confirm calls, and the inability to speak directly to patients and staff. These frustrating problems lead to longer response times, and prevent caregivers from giving premium care.

But caregivers want to provide better care and they have invented creative work-arounds such as using personal unsecured smart devices to communicate with each other regarding patient care. This obvious HIPAA security risk is a problem plaguing administrators and IT staff across the country.

HIPAA applies to all devices that receive, transmit, or store protected health information. The law doesn’t distinguish between work devices, and people’s personal phones and devices. It applies to all devices used by caregivers. Furthermore, today’s cell phones are virtually hand-held computers, which makes violating HIPAA so easy and scary. Caregivers who text or email patient information on their own phones or devices can be in violation, because the information is often transmitted using unsecured mobile networks. This poses more than a few security risks:

  • The transmissions themselves can be intercepted.
  • The information is stored on the phone in an unsecured manner.
  • Photos stored and/or shared from the phone can be a potential privacy problem.
  • Stolen or lost phones are another possible violation.
  • Cloud backup services for their phones can cause still more potential problems.
  • Having phones around can lead to the urge to be on social media, causing even more potential risks and problems.

So. What now?

Don’t worry. We got you!

RCare Mobile was designed so your caregivers can still have all of the fast communication and secure messaging capabilities, avoid duplication and ensure accountability with the “I got it” feature, while sharing more resident information about the situation so the caregiver knows what to expect and what to bring to a call.

Caregivers can put the personal phones away and use our brand new LIFE Phone powered by RCare Mobile. This new secure, smart device is locked down to provide secure 2-way communication. It has a sophisticated display screen that provides information about the call, not just the room number. Caregivers will see the resident’s name, history, and the nature of the call. Because it’s a phone, it lets the caregiver place calls to ask questions, determine any supplies or equipment needed, and let the resident know who is coming to help, and when. The “I got it” feature makes sure that every call gets answered, and lets everyone know who got the call.

Better yet is what the RCare Mobile phone doesn’t do. It doesn’t violate HIPAA. PHI is transmitted, received, and stored securely. It doesn’t cost a lot. And it sure doesn’t do Facebook.

What are you waiting for? The choice is clear.

Happy Labor Day from RCare

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vince Lombardi

For most families in the U.S., Labor Day symbolizes the end of summer. We celebrate with barbecues, parades, picnics with our families, and we maybe even squeeze in one last summer vacation. But do we take the time to appreciate why we have this holiday, and what we’re truly celebrating?

Labor Day was created in late 1800s to pay tribute to American workers. It became an official federal holiday in 1894, to honor working people, their achievements, and the contributions they make to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.

So, as you celebrate this Labor Day, as you enjoy the last 3-day weekend of summer, RCare invites you to reflect with us on the daily contributions of the many workers who care for our elderly, our disabled, and our sick population. We’re truly appreciative of the amazing work these compassionate and hard-working people do for the weakest, and most vulnerable of our citizens. We rely on these workers to heal, support, care, and yes, clean up, as they go about the messy, challenging, rewarding, and difficult work that comes with any kind of caregiving.

RCare exists because we’re passionate about helping long-term care communities. Our mission is to empower these caregiving staff members. We know their frustrations, and we’ve created tools to help make their work more efficient, more effective, and a little bit easier. We want to help, as they strive to make their communities a better place to live, to visit, and to work. We do this by helping caregivers feel connected to each other, connected to residents and connected to management. RCare empowers professional caregivers to make better decisions and allow them to track success. We know why caregivers go to work every day and it’s to offer the best quality of care possible. RCare strives to assist in that mission.

This Labor Day while we enjoy the company of our friends, neighbors and family members, let’s remember to give praise to our nation’s workers. And join RCare in giving an extra dose of appreciation to our nation’s hard-working caregivers, to the health professionals in the trenches, giving the day-to-day care, to their hardworking administrators, and to all of those unpaid family caregivers who devote endless time and dedication for their loved ones.

We appreciate you and we thank you!
Happy Labor Day!

RCare was delighted to be highlighted and called out for their advanced location protocol featured in a recent Nurse Call System research report by Grand View Research, a San Francisco-based market research and consulting firm.  

RCare Mobile's "I got it" feature on ensures caregiver accountability and lets multiple caregivers know who will be responding to any given alert.

RCare Mobile’s “I got it” feature on ensures caregiver accountability and lets multiple caregivers know who will be responding to any given alert.

Nurse Call System Market Worth $1.8 Billion By 2022: Grand View Research, Inc.

This study found that the global nurse call market is expected to reach 1.8 Billion USD by 2022. This number will be driven by reimbursement coverage reductions, hospital readmission penalties and the increased expectation for digital health in long term care.

RCare is a market leader with a global footprint throughout the United States, Europe and most recently in Asia with their latest Malaysian distribution partner.

The report singles out RCare for its innovative “I Got it” feature on the RCare Mobile and the Advanced Location Protocol (available for senior housing communities in the United States).

Wireless communication equipment is expected to witness rapid growth. With the increasing healthcare complexities, the need for integrated nurse call systems and electronic health records is driving the industry players to launch advanced solutions. InNovember 2015, RCare launched its G4 technology with Advanced Location Protocol (ALP) for senior living facilities. The “I Got It” button provides a state-of-the-art solution to allow staff to pinpoint locations with the aid of RCare pendant.”

Read the entire release

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.20.26 AMBeep. Beep. Beep. A page loudly rings through to four of the CNAs on staff at Greenwood Senior Homes. There’s a call on level two of the west wing. Help requested immediately. That’s the end of the communication. At this point, none of the caregivers know how urgent the situation is, any helpful details and most importantly whether all or none of them will actually respond to the call.

The most troubling issue with outdated pager systems is that everyone receiving the page might think: “I’m busy and far away. I’m sure someone else will get it.”

This is clearly a problem that can be resolved with better mobile technology like RCare Mobile.

“Senior housing facilities are still using pager systems, and we’ve seen up close how frustrated their staffs have become, especially with the lack of accountability,” said Myron Kowal, RCare’s CEO and founder. “Pagers don’t convey much information about a potentially urgent problem, and don’t allow for two-way communication. Where is the problem? What should I bring? How urgent is it? Who is accountable for it?”

Caregiving staff have admitted to this frustration and have adopted a work-around strategy of  resorting to their own personal smart devices to enable the two-way communication they need when responding to calls. This poses several HIPAA-related problems including a breach to facility security and patient privacy. It also poses an unwelcome distraction in the form of personal communications and the access to various social channels in a busy care environment.

“We knew there needed to be a better solution that was faster and easier to handle, that enabled professional messaging, but didn’t allow access to personal social media. We created a HIPAA-compliant mobile platform called RCare Mobile, for nursing staff to securely and quickly communicate and respond in real time to real issues, really fast.”

RCare Mobile uses smartphone-like handsets through which caregivers receive alerts as well as detailed resident information and location. They allow voice and text communications with other staff including the I Got It button, letting other staff know who is responding to the call.

Learn more about how RCare MobileTM can empower your Caregivers. https://rcareinc.com/products/rcare-mobile/.