Tag Archive for: RCare Mobile

QAPI

Qapi program for nursing homesIf you’re in skilled nursing, you’re probably in the process of figuring that out right now. Because, as you know, QAPI is the new CMS law of the land.

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), “QAPI is a data-driven, proactive approach to improving the quality of life, care, and services in nursing homes.” It starts with quality assurance (QA), the steps facilities take to meet quality standards and regulations. Then it adds performance improvement (PI). QAPI (QA and PI together) is meant to help facilities meet minimum regulatory quality standards, and then to make the quality of services even better.

Does Your Nurse Call System Matter for QAPI?

ABSOLUTELY!

Central to QAPI is the satisfaction of residents and their families, and call response time is a great place to start. Do your residents trust that when they request help it will come quickly and will address their needs? Or do they wait, frustrated or afraid, wondering how long before help will arrive?

Built into every RCare system is the RMetrix reporting and analytics package that lets you track call response times, so that you can assess your current status, and set target goals.

  • What is an acceptable amount of time for a client to wait for help and what isn’t?
  • How well are you doing at staying inside that acceptable range?
  • Are your staffing levels right for each place and time?

With RCare, you can track call response time for the organization, or filter it by:

  • Group – facility, wing, hallway, or whatever grouping makes sense for your community.
  • Time – to see how things are going by shift.
  • Enterprise – For large organizations, Enterprise RMetrix lets you evaluate response times across your entire organization at as broad or fine-grained a level of detail as you need.

Frequent caller reports let you see:

  • Who is calling?
  • Are the calls primarily from just a few residents?
  • Are call numbers higher on one shift or in one part of your facility?

RPhone and The Resident’s Experience

Best describes qapi program

  • RCare’s integrated HIPAA-compliant mobile handset, the RPhone, has the unique “I got it” feature that helps both residents and staff. It lets a staff member claim a call that comes through, preventing unclaimed calls, and preventing duplication of effort, which helps make the best use of your staff’s time.
  • It provides personalized information about the resident, so that staff can offer greater personalization and comfort, even if the caregiver or the resident is new. It allows staff members to phone the resident directly to let them know help is on the way, and allows them to find out more information about what is needed.
  • With the RPhone, care staff check in when they arrive at the room, and check out when they leave. They can record the services performed during the call. This is powerful information for your quality teams, as they try to understand more deeply the processes they’re working to improve.
  • The powerful RMetrix reporting helps you identify specific calls that fall outside the norms, to help you investigate potential problems and get to their root cause.

Your Organization’s Other Services:

Your QAPI program must address all services provided by your facility and thus extends to all departments.That’s another reason RCare’s call system is so powerful. Staff across the facility benefit from the system, and residents never need to pull a cord.

  • Passive sensors integrated directly into the system can monitor temperatures of every room and send alerts if temps stray out of the normal range.
  • Integrated water sensors report flooding or overflows.
  • Universal contact sensors report doors that are open when they should be closed, or closed when they should be open.
  • Refrigerator temperature sensors continuously check and record temps, and send alerts for temperatures out of the safe range.
  • Smoke detectors, integrated right into the nurse call system, so everyone is alerted if there’s a problem in a room.

By now, you should have your written QAPI plan in place, and implementation should have begun. As you plan your performance improvement projects, it’s critical to have objective performance measurements of where you started, where you want to go, as well as the ability to monitor the effects of your changes. You need data to evaluate where you have opportunities for improvement, and where you’re exceeding expectations. You need to measure progress, and to provide insight to investigations of where problems persist. Root Cause Analysis provides the most insight when it’s evidence-based and drawn from reliable data.

RCare is more than a nurse call system. Add RCare to your QAPI! Contact us today.

Smartphone and HIPAA Violations

It was Edna’s 100th birthday at Greenfield Manor and everyone was in the mood for celebrating! The staff made her a cake, while the residents and family gathered to sing a spirited Happy Birthday! Edna was well liked among fellow residents and staff members. Thinking to preserve memories of the occasion, a caregiving aide from Greenfield took out her smartphone and recorded the celebration.

She then shared the cute video on her Facebook profile with the caption “Edna rings in 100. I love my job”. It had seemed innocent enough. Many of her friends commented on how cute it was and extended birthday wishes. She most likely never thought this very action would result in her losing the job she loved.

Unfortunately, the use of personal smartphones and devices is on the rise by professional caregivers in long-term care. And not just for social media. They’re also being used by caregivers who wish to relay patient information and activity to other caregiving staff in a faster and more efficient fashion. They are trying to provide better care. Instead, they are putting their communities, patient privacy and their jobs at risk.

Greenfield Manor believes very strongly in maintaining high end security, patient integrity and privacy. They immediately recognized this act for what it was: a HIPAA violation. They followed their HIPAA privacy protocol, relieved the aide of her position and contacted the family about the privacy breach.

Although Edna’s family was upset about the violation of Edna’s privacy, they were satisfied with the actions the facility took, and the aide didn’t face legal action. It definitely could have been worse.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that enforces HIPAA, has come down hard on communities and their staff members that utilize personal smart devices in a professional care setting.

A recent CMS memorandum to state officials stated that organizations must have policies that prohibit employees from taking pictures or video of residents and posting them on social media, no matter what. In addition to privacy breaches, CMS is concerned with protecting residents from feeling demeaned or embarrassed.

CMS has gone so far to require that any employees in violation of these strict policies must be reported to local law enforcement, for possible resident mental abuse. This is true even if the resident gave consent.

Q: What should senior housing communities do?

A: Remove any and all usage of personal smart devices by your staff and instead get HIPAA compliant, secure RCare Mobile phones.

RCare Mobile utilizes a locked down smartphone which allows caregivers to receive customized patient alerts as well as detailed resident information and location. RCare Mobile allows voice and text communications with other staff including the I Got It button, letting other staff know who is responding to the call.

Here’s the best part. Even though RCare Mobile looks and acts just like a smartphone, it’s a smartphone that is completely dedicated to being a high-function, secure, HIPAA-compliant nurse call system phone. It doesn’t allow additional apps to be installed. It doesn’t allow taking photos or videos. And it doesn’t allow social media of any kind.

RCare Mobile. the world’s most advanced nurse call system is calling you. It’s time to respond.

alternative to loud alarms for senior housing

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.”

RCare's GeoPendant and The Eden AlternativeThat’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.

Alternative to Loud AlarmsCommunities 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.

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.

Best Little Nurse Call System

LTC/CXO Summit interviews Myron KowalRCare is delighted to be selected as a solution provider for the revolutionary LTC/CXO summit, an invitation-only forum for senior level executives and solution providers.

RCare CEO Myron Kowal featured on an interview by LTC/CXO:
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We’ve got some BIG news to announce at the LTC and Senior Living CXO Summit (LTC/CXO) in Pasadena. We will be introducing our all new, revolutionary BCube platform designed specifically for small campuses. Using all of the BIG monitoring, sensing and reporting features of RCare, the BCube is a more cost-effective, efficient and scaled design.

What makes the BCube so exciting?

It’s a big-featured nurse call system scaled and priced for small communities. Advanced wireless nurse call systems like RCare Mobile are comprehensive and robust, designed (and priced) for large skilled nursing and assisted living communities. With their smaller budgets, we’ve seen that smaller communities are often priced out of the market for the new technologies that make caregiving safer for the resident, and more efficient for the staff. So we went back to the design table and came up with a way to give you the great features of our bigger nurse call systems, at a smaller price. All of the big capabilities, without the big price tag.

What else is new at LTC/CXO? We’ll be sharing our revolutionary new technologies that make RCare the leading advanced nurse call system across the world. We will talk about our recent integrations with EMR giant PointClickCare, wander management leader Accutech and telehealth and socialization platform GrandCare Systems. We’ll be showcasing our custom-made, HIPAA-compliant RPhone handsets powered by RCare Mobile to ensure communications are fast, descriptive and secure. We are also showing off our new sleek Pretty Pretty and Patriot Pendants. These beautiful accessories are designed for ultimate functionality with elegant style.

LTC/CXO is being held February 9-10, 2017, at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, CA.

LTC/CXO Summit

RCare is leading the advanced nurse call movement across the globe with professional installation, support teams throughout the United States, and distribution partnerships in Canada, Europe and most recently in Asia. Contact us: info@rcareinc.com to locate your local RCare representative.

RCare at AHCA/NCAL 2016 Conference in Nashville

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and home to Vanderbilt University. It boasts legendary music venues such as the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the historic Ryman Auditorium. As if all that isn’t enough, don’t miss the Johnny Cash Museum, celebrating the renowned singer’s life.

RCare is celebrating its 10th anniversarySoon Nashville will have another reason to celebrate! RCare is spending its 10th birthday at the 67th annual AHCA/NCAL convention and expo. Want to join in the fun? Stop by Booth #257 and say howdy.

To celebrate a decade of our presence, we want to give you presents!!

What??? You bet! All you have to do is come to our booth and you get a prize. That’s right. It’s our anniversary, but the gifts are on us. But that’s not all. We’ll also be giving away free RCare medallion necklaces, complementary to any show attire. If we spot you wearing it on the show floor, we’ve got even bigger prizes in store for you (electronics, speakers, chargers, accessories and more.)

We have more reasons to celebrate at booth #257. We’ll be showcasing our latest and greatest products including our new Pretty Pretty Pendants, our smarter, brand new #RCareMobile phone (HIPAA-Compliant, Secure NurseCall phone), and our new caregiver panel for the RCube.

Pretty Pretty Pendants. Who says pendants have to be ugly? It turns out, they don’t. Personal emergency response systems only work if people wear them. So we made ours pretty. Many people don’t even realize it’s a PERS worn for safety, because it looks like an attractive accessory. But it’s also a reliable call for assistance if needed.

RCare Mobile introduces a brand new phone for our multi-featured, HIPAA-compliant nurse call system. This is a system with two-way communication features that let caregivers know all about the resident who made the call, the reason for the call, and who is responding. It gives you all the powerful smartphone features you need – but none of the security risks.

Find out more about the new CC900 dedicated caregiver panel for the RCube.

And let us get you excited about interoperability! RCare now integrates with Point-Click-Care and Accutech, to give more efficiencies to your staff, greater ease of use, fewer user errors, and maximum information.

If you find yourself in Music City for AHCA/NCAL, make sure you include RCare in your plans.

AHCA/NCAL 67th Annual Convention and Expo
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
Nashville, Tennessee
October 16-19, 2016
More details about the convention

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.

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

Pretty Pretty Pendants are back in stock, order yours today!

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 11.29.44 AM

We know seniors can sometimes resist having to wear those bulky, ugly PERS pendants.

This led us to pose the question, “why do pendants have to be ugly?” Turns out, they don’t! It isn’t an actual requirement. (We checked).

Our Pretty Pretty Pendants have been a Pretty HUGE success!  Needless to say, we’re Pretty excited.

While we knew at least some seniors and senior living facilities would be interested in our new Pretty Pretty Pendants, we didn’t realize just how interested they would be and we sold out immediately. Don’t worry, we made more! We now have our Pretty Pretty Pendants back in stock and they are already going pretty fast!

Don’t wait, contact us to get yours now. Please visit https://rcareinc.com/contact/.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 11.30.17 AMThey said Beauty lies within.

We say Flaunt it!  

They say Liberty is within us.

We say Wear it proudly on your chest!

Pagers. You know, those annoying, ugly boxes from the early 90s, usually associated with doctors and dealers? Those one-way devices used for sending messages may have died nearly twenty years ago, yet they are still walking around like inattentive zombies in one place – care facilities. Hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities are keeping pagers alive. But, why? We’ve decided to make a list. Here are our top five reasons why it’s time to pull the plug on pagers:

  • The technology is outdated.

Pagers rose to popularity in the mid-90s, peaking in 1994, and have since been experiencing a slow and inevitable decline into obsolescence.  They cannot be update, and the one-sided technology leads patient care into the past! Pagers are so old, in fact, that some of our staff members had to look them up on Wikipedia to find out what we were talking about.

  • They’re ineffective.Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 2.49.06 PM

What use is a basket full of pagers sitting at the front desk? In many hospitals still using pagers, this is the reality of the situation. If everyone is responsible for making sure that buzzing pagers are checked, no one is truly accountable for missed calls, making the entire system ineffective and unreasonable.

  • They’re one-trick ponies.

Pagers in hospital and other care facilities are almost always one-way communication devices. You wear this bulky, outdated box on your hip all day, and the only thing it can do is receive pages. Nurses and other hospital staff become fed up with the slow and outdated technology and tend to use their own, personal smart devices, leading to privacy and security issues for the care facility.

  • There are better options.

It’s 2016, and everyone walks around tethered to a smart device.  Because many care facilities ban personal smart devices due to privacy concerns, RCare has designed RCare Mobile™, a secure and customized mobile smart device designed for busy nursing staff, administration and professional caregivers. RCare Mobile’s “I Got It” feature creates an environment of seamless communication between all staff who have been alerted to an issue.

  • Your staff, your residents and your community deserve the latest and greatest in care.

Better response times, proper incident handling, and accountability features make for a less stressful workplace, more effective staff members and residents who feel more secure. Happy caregivers make for happy residents and a happy place to be.

So ditch the pagers and let RCare Mobile™ put more smiles in your world.