The installation began last July, was completed by August, and staff had the buttons by early September. Twelve repeaters were installed to cover the chosen units. The repeaters catch and send the duress signal to the security dispatch center, which then sends a group notification to all security officers on duty. During incidents, “it takes about 20 seconds from the time the button is pushed to security hearing the call…. I am very pleased with that,” Smith says, adding that the installation was trouble-free.
When the buttons were given to the staff, security conducted training. Afterwards, Smith recalls, “There were a few questions during the first week and a few nurses who felt they hadn’t had the right training…. I think they weren’t convinced that all they had to do to get help was hit the button. So, we repeated training a couple of times.” One of the features that security pointed out to staff was an LED on the button that illuminates to show that the duress signal has been received by security.
At the time of this interview, Saint Joseph staff had been using the Radius EMD system for about two-and-a-half months. “It’s a very flexible system and the feedback from the nurses has been tremendous,” says Smith.
A button is also carried by the security officer posted in the ER. “We’ve had problems with our radios there. That’s one of our dead spots and also where we have high-risk patients,” according to Smith. Shortly after the system went into use, a suicidal patient tried to strangle himself while in the ER. The security officer “couldn’t get help on the radio, so she used the button and immediately security dispatch got the message and help was there within about 30 seconds,” he states.
Smith says that Exempla is building a new Saint Joseph hospital that will be open by the end of 2014. “I would like to get the EMD system in the new hospital in the high-risk units, and also add it to labor and delivery and a few other units. It’s a lot easier to get in there during the building phase,” he notes.
(For more information: Inovonics Wireless Corporation, phone: 303/939-9336; Web: www.inovonics.con; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)