Improving Responsiveness and Safety in Aged Care Facilities With Mobile Fire Alarm and Nurse Call System Alerts
Ozcare is a not-for-profit organization employing more than 2,500 staff and providing a diverse range of health and human services, including aged care, community care, community health, and community support.
Ozcare, a leading non-profit health and community services provider in Queensland, Australia, has a highly mobile workforce. The 2,500-strong Ozcare staff cover all of Australia’s second-largest state, delivering services to more than 12,000 aged and disabled people living in their homes, as well as more than 1,200 residents living in 10 Ozcare-run residential aged care facilities.
Communication is critical to their success—and to the safety and care of their patients and residents. And critical to their communication was finding mobile event notification middleware that could link alerts from their nurse call and fire alarm panel to mobile staff carrying wireless telephony.
Their existing solution was proving unreliable, and wasn’t meeting Ozcare’s growing demands. From its limited reporting capabilities and lack of flexibility to high maintenance costs and insufficient support, the legacy system simply wasn’t delivering.
In 2008, Ozcare switched to a mobile event notification middleware solution from Amcom Software. Daniel Cruse, Manager of Information Technology at Ozcare, was impressed with the company’s proven success in hospitals and healthcare enterprises around the world. But reputation alone wasn’t enough. Cruse and his team needed whatever system they chose to:
- Integrate messaging from the nurse call system
- Integrate messaging from the fire alarm panel
- Send messages directly to their wireless telephones
- Generate daily reports to comply with aged care legislation
- Ensure stability and reliability across their enterprise
The Amcom mobile event notification middleware solution offered all that and more. According to Cruse, “the support provided by the Commtech Division in our trials and testing, and the flexibility of the solution to deliver exactly what we needed, provided the driving force behind our final decision to go with Commtech’s offering over all other systems tested.”
Once the system was up and running, Cruse was extremely pleased. With the Amcom solution, Ozcare is now able to handle both the number and type of messages it needs to send. They leverage software that sends alerts from the nurse call system and fire panel directly to the right staff member carrying a wireless phone.
Ozcare has ensured that the correct message is delivered in seconds to the appropriate recipients. They’ve also been able to improve response time, confident that every message is permanently archived in the system with date and time stamps. This enables staff to track who has sent, received, and responded to notifications—and within what timeframe. All of this information is compiled into daily reports using the Reporting Module, which enables Ozcare to comply with strict legislation relating to aged care facilities.
“We now have a centrally managed, unified system that is flexible and able to be integrated with emerging healthcare and IT technologies, and one that gives us local, round-the-clock technical support,” Cruse said. “This ensures our system runs flawlessly, messages keep flowing, and safety for residents, staff, and visitors remains high.”
To date, Ozcare has installed five Amcom systems, with plans to implement five more into the remaining aged care facilities to finalise the project. They’ve been able to improve management metrics, thanks to the system’s robust reporting capabilities. For the first time ever they are also able to take the nurse call information and send full text messages to the wireless phone system. “Since the rollout of the Amcom systems, our nursing staff are alerted immediately when a resident requests assistance via the nurse call system, regardless of where they are at the time. They are now able to respond faster and more directly,” said Cruse. “Residents love it because they get faster care, nurses love it because they don’t have to be tethered to a nursing station, and management loves it because our resident satisfaction is strong and reporting is easily accessible at any time, from anywhere.”
The Ozcare team has also enjoyed valuable peace of mind knowing that their system is protected by local, comprehensive support, and that they’ve future-proofed their communications capabilities to allow for growth as their business evolves.
“We have a fantastic system we can rely on for critical communications,” said Cruse. “The solution has fulfilled all our requirements: it’s stable, flexible, and easy to maintain. We have also received excellent support. We are now better able to provide the level of safety and responsiveness we want for our residents and patients.”