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NURSE CALL SYSTEMS


Healthcare providers are increasingly required to demonstrate standards of care and a frequent issue is the length of time taken to answer the nurse call.


level lighting as the patient leaves the bed to help avoid falls. In addition, such links could be useful – assisting staff with cardiac calls for the lights to be automatically


illuminated to a pre-defined level. Maintenance and system integrity –


Figure 1: The principles of an Ethernet-based LAN.


control the ambient conditions of their room. Modern nurse call systems can integrate third-party systems to allow patients, to manage their own environment, control lighting, heating and window blinds, for example. Many hospitals now also have catering provided by outside sources, so why not include a catering call button on the handset? As part of the overall patient experience


healthcare providers are increasingly required to demonstrate standards of care and a frequent issue is the length of time taken to answer the nurse call. In the UK the issue of call response has become very important and it is a requirement of HTM for nurse call systems to log all activities. Once collected, this data can easily be sorted to analyse response times. It can be presented in the form of pie charts and bar charts which


can help identify peaks and troughs in patient demand and help to assess required staffing levels. Static Systems has found most management teams and staff to be very supportive of such data and they are using it, along with other measures, to help


demonstrate continual improvement. Patient safety – The growing use of


single bed rooms, linked with an aging population, does give rise to a number of patient safety issues. Slips, trips and falls are a real focus for most nursing management teams. A confused or elderly patient attempting to leave their bed is a potential safety issue. So, why not use the nurse call system by connecting bed sensors or pressure mats to it to alert staff? Then, because the nurse call system can


connect to other systems, why not use it as the interface to automatically turn on low


HTM also calls for routine maintenance to check the functionality of equipment. Increasing reliance on systems means that regular and routine checks should be carried out to ensure correct functionality. Modern nurse call systems have extensive fault diagnostics which indicate system and component faults. Furthermore, because systems can be


connected via a network – usually a site LAN – signals can be indicated in the maintenance department. By using a messaging server, alerts can also be transmitted to a pager, or, more likely nowadays, a smart phone or tablet. This information can be accessed from anywhere – so there is no escape for the hospital maintenance technician, even on holiday! It allows systems suppliers and service specialists to easily access the system and advise on fault diagnosis and rectification.


IP technology Against the backdrop of current trends, practice and issues let’s now briefly review IP (Internetworking Protocol) technology in a little more detail and then go on to explain how it might be applied in a modern nurse call system. LANs and the Internet


Figure 2: Structured wiring principles for the nurse call system. 16


are often illustrated as a fluffy cloud with lots of things connected to it. One might be forgiven for thinking that you could simply plug anything into it and it will work. In reality, it is not that simple. It is important to note that while different systems – for example nurse call, BMS, and CCTV systems – might now all communicate across IP, it does not mean that they automatically


IFHE DIGEST 2015


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