The Jacob is a new senior living community in Beamsville, Ontario, that offers resort-style amenities for comfortably aging in place, with 95 independent living suites, 21 assisted living suites, 24/7 nursing staff, respite care and a long list of support services that are available à la carte to every resident. There is currently one nurse on duty at all times and up to three personal support workers (PSWs) present during the day.
Right from the start, a nurse call system was considered an essential part of providing care at The Jacob. “If a resident was in trouble and we didn’t have this system, how would we know?” wondered Jacqueline Smith, The Jacob’s Director of Care. “If they couldn’t get to a phone to call for help, we’d have no way of knowing that anything was wrong.”
Emshih Living chose certified Panasonic dealer Key 2 Communications to supply the DCC Nurse Call System, including equipment, installation, training and support. Key 2 gradually installed the system over the course of several months, in accordance with the overall construction schedule. The dealer coordinated with onsite contractors to ensure that every component was installed correctly and in the proper sequence for optimal system effectiveness. Final set up, testing and staff training were completed shortly before The Jacob’s grand opening in February, 2021.
“When residents are first admitted, we give them their pendant, set it up and show them how to use it,” said Smith. “We put it in their hand, show them the red light, the blue light, and let them feel the vibration when they push the button. We explain that it’s to be used only when there’s something wrong—something important or urgent.”
Smith advises residents to wear the wireless pendant at all times, either on a lanyard around their neck or on a bracelet around their wrist, so they can immediately contact the care team for assistance. Residents can also request aid using the pull cords installed in every washroom at The Jacob.
When a resident calls for help, the system forwards their name and suite number to a DECT cordless phone carried by the nurse on duty. The nurse has one minute to accept the call before the system automatically escalates it to the next person on the notification list. Each call remains in the system until it is accepted by a staff member.
The care team is only receiving about five calls per day right now but expects that number to increase as more seniors move in. “We have two phones that will be set up for nurses and two for PSWs,” explained Smith. “Once we get enough volume, we will allocate a PSW as the first call, the other PSW as the second, a nurse as the third, the other nurse as the fourth, and then me.”
“We have had a very positive response to the system,” said Candise Nicholson, Executive Director of The Jacob. “The residents are pleased that we have this added safety feature. It also gives families peace of mind to know that their loved ones will be cared for.”
Busy staff members, in particular, appreciate that the system is designed to prevent calls from slipping through the cracks. “What I especially like is that the Nurse Call System can send me an email that pops up on my smartphone,” said Smith. “If somebody isn’t responding to a call or there’s a problem, I can see it. For example, I received a trigger email on the weekend, so I called in and was able to get an answer right away. I love this backup safety feature.”
Both Smith and Nicholson look forward to receiving additional DCC software training, which will allow them to generate detailed reports about residents’ emergency calls and the care team’s responsiveness. “The software will tell us if our staff’s response time is as quick as it should be,” said Nicholson. “It may indicate that someone needs more training or is simply not doing their job the way they should.” By analyzing data from the DCC Nurse Call System, she also hopes to suggest relevant services to residents and reassure families that The Jacob is maintaining a high standard of care.
“I would definitely recommend the DCC Nurse Call System from Panasonic Canada,” said Nicholson. “It’s a wonderful, user-friendly system. If retirement communities are looking to keep their residents safe, this is a great way to do it.”