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The Wireless the Better

In the seniors and long-term care (LTC) housing markets, emergency call systems (sometimes referred to as call bell systems) have become increasingly complex. More specifically, wireless emergency call systems have changed the notion of what a call bell system can do and have quickly developed into “community management” tools. This article outlines the top four reasons to utilize one of these wireless systems at your community. Note that many states accept wireless emergency call systems but may have specific regulations regarding their use. Please check your local and state regulations before making any decisions.

“In the LTC housing market, we are seeing that technology can greatly affect the care that a community provides.”

  1. Allows for Flexibility. Since the call stations are wireless, resident units are no longer confined to a specific layout. The bedside call station can go just about anywhere in the room and can be quickly and easily moved. Additional stations are simple to add if a resident has specific requirements. Also, pendant-based or watch-based personal call-for-help buttons can be deployed. In a skilled care environment, chair sensors can be integrated into the emergency call system and can be used without the need to tether the chair to a wall.
  2. Creates a Residential Environment. Today’s LTC communities want to create a home-like environment. A wireless call system aides in this effort by allowing many of the traditional sounds and tones of a call system to be eliminated. Where wireless systems are utilized, the care staff will instead carry a pager, wireless phone, or Smartphone on which they receive the information necessary to respond to a call from a resident. In many cases, this also allows for the elimination of traditional corridor “dome” lights (another institutional element).
  3. Encourages Resident Mobility. Wireless call systems can give residents a sense of secure mobility through the use of pendant-based or watch-based personal call-for-help buttons, as long as all areas of the community have adequate wireless coverage. Residents can feel confident that if they travel away from their primary residences (or even outside, i.e. walking trails), pushing the call-for-help button will alert the care staff and the system will give that staff the appropriate location of the resident. It is important to note that the locating capabilities of various wireless systems differ. If interested in this feature, be sure to ask many questions of the systems providers.
  4. Provides Metrics and Accountability Through Data Logging. Most wireless systems on the market today have a computer server at their core. This server manages all of the “rules” that the system uses to process calls that are placed. The server then records the details of all system calls (i.e. time, date, who placed the call, who answered the call, etc.). With this data recorded, the community has the opportunity to look back at it and analyze trends. For instance, if a family member inquires about the time it takes for a staff member to answer their loved one’s call, it is fairly easy for the community to get a report of the calls placed by that particular resident – the frequency of the calls, the exact time each particular call was placed, and the response time of the care giver.

In the LTC housing market, we are seeing that technology can greatly affect the care that a community provides. The four points above are just a few of the ways that wireless call systems are becoming an innovative force in LTC communities.

– Michael J. Sanzotti, RCDD, LEED AP

Michael is Reese Engineering’s Director of Technology Solutions, a Registered Communications Distribution Designer, and a LEED Accredited Professional. Please feel free to contact Michael for further details regarding the above information.