|Regent Park the first CO facility to use AccuNurse|
|Written by Jes-c Brandt|
“The newest technology to assist in providing quality care for your loved one,” is more than just a slogan. As the first facility in Colorado to use AccuNurse, Regent Park Nursing and Rehab really does have the latest technology and is already seeing improved quality of care for their patients with its use.
AccuNurse is a system of voice-assisted care in which staff communicate with one another and with a computer base via personal headsets. The program offers a number of functions, including paging staff and providing schedule reminders, as well as letting staff access patient information and update charts from anywhere in the facility.
Julie Kotch, director of nursing, discussed the process of implementing the new system and the changes their facility has experienced with its use. Regent Park is still in its first month of using AccuNurse, but already the benefits are evident.
Before AccuNurse could be used, a great amount of data was entered into the system. For each patient, there is a unique care plan that includes things such as baths, doctor’s appointments, diet and medication information, to name a few. In the past, such details were recorded and updated on paper.
After the system was programmed with the facility’s information, all staff using the headsets received training from the corporate office. During the first week, those who excelled in the new processes, Kotch shared, were a great asset as they helped their coworkers with the tougher concepts.
What is great about AccuNurse, Kotch said, is that it’s very user friendly. New technology can sometimes be intimidating, but they have found this system is easy, even across generations.
The nurses’ station is the center of daily operation at Regent Park Nursing and Rehab,
In the second week, coaches were present 24 hours a day to help everyone transition to recording data verbally. Every individual has a headset specific to themselves, Kotch said, and a one-hour voice activation training was required. That training allowed staff practice, and the program had a chance to adjust to each voice, based on accents and other idiosyncrasies.
Now that the facility is past the training phase of implementation, staff, residents and visitors have seen AccuNurse in action. Using the information previously entered into the system, an automated voice called “Ava” delivers necessary information to nurses and CNAs.
As scheduled items, such as a doctor’s appointment, approach, Ava automatically alerts the appropriate staff person through the headset.
If a CNA or nurse has a question about a specific patient, getting information is as easy as asking. Staff simply speak into their headset, stating which patient they’re working with and ask a question. With this new technology, anyone on staff can get information for any patient from anywhere in the facility.
Alex Cole, who has been a CNA at Regent Park for two years, said it’s been really nice using this new system. It reduces the time spent going back and forth and thus leaves more time for working with the residents.
In addition to receiving information from Ava, staff also provide details for the system through their headsets. For example, they tell Ava when baths or showers are given so there is record of when everything happens.
Regent Park has always kept these records, Kotch noted, but now they are recorded verbally rather than written. With this new technique, it is easy for CNAs to document their actions throughout the day.
Think of it this way: a patient is cared for, the CNA provides details to Ava, then the CNA tends to their next patient. There’s less room for error if documentation happens continually throughout the day instead of at the end of a shift, Kotch noted.
Much of the improvement seen with AccuNurse comes in the form of reduced possibility for error. When Ava receives information, she gives back that exact information when it’s needed later. Basically, nothing is lost in communication, as can sometimes happen when information is passed from person to person.
Staff can still access patient data on a computer, Kotch added, but the majority of CNAs’ documentation is now done through the headsets. There’s more of an emphasis on listening and speaking.
While CNAs and nurses have seen great improvement with AccuNurse, residents and families can also witness a change in the facility since the system was implemented. If a family member has a question about their loved one, all they have to do is call or stop in and ask. Staff can easily access the answer through their headsets.
As Regent Park strives to offer a comfortable environment for their residents, AccuNurse has also reduced noise throughout the day. Where paging used to be done over loud speakers, staff can now be paged directly through their headsets, so as not to disturb others.
Having only been in place for one month, AccuNurse has been working exceptionally well. Kotch and the Regent Park staff expect the system to work even better with time, as the facility gets used to the new technology.
Additional systems will eventually be added to Regent Park’s AccuNurse to monitor such things as mood and behavior. In approximately one year, Kotch noted, Regent Park expects to go paperless, with nurses documenting everything electronically.
“AccuNurse is a great system,” Kotch commented. “Our quality of care has improved, and we’re definitely more efficient.” The time and money invested in this new system has been well worth it, she added. Employees at Regent Park agreed it has been exciting to see the new technology at work, knowing they are working with a cutting edge system.