Nurse call button
A nurse call button is a button found around a hospital bed that allows patients in health care settings to alert a nurse or other health care staff member remotely of their need for help. When the button is pressed, a signal alerts staff at the nurse's station, and usually, a nurse or nurse assistant responds to such a call. Some systems also allow the patient to speak directly to the staffer; others simply beep or buzz at the station, requiring a staffer to actually visit the patient's room to determine the patient's needs.
The call button provides the following benefits to patients:
- Enables a patient who is confined to bed and has no other way of communicating with staff to alert a nurse of the need for any type of assistance
- Enables a patient who is able to get out of bed, but for whom this may be hazardous, exhausting, or otherwise difficult to alert a nurse of the need for any type of assistance
- Provides the patient an increased sense of security
The call button can also be used by a health care staff member already with the patient to call for another when such assistance is needed, or by visitors to call for help on behalf of the patient.
Laws and regulations
Laws in most places require that a call button must be in reach of the patient at all times for example in the patients bed or on the table.It is essential to patients in emergencies. There are also laws that vary by location setting the amount of time in which staff must respond to a call.
It is the responsibility of nursing staff to explain to the patients that they have a call button and to teach them how to use it.
Some patients develop the habit of overusing a call button. This can lead staff to frustration, Alarm Fatigue, up to and including ignoring or disregarding the patient's calls or not taking them very seriously. "Alarm fatigue" refers to the response - or lack of it - of nurses to more than a dozen types of alarms that can sound hundreds of times a day - and many of those calls are false alarms. Staff cannot ignore such calls, as doing so violates the law in most places. Sometimes, mental health professionals will work with such patients in order to curtail their use of the button to serious need.
The most basic system has nothing more than a button for the patient. When the button is pressed, nursing staff is alerted by a light and/or an audible sound at the nurse's station. This can only be turned off from the patient's bedside, thereby compelling staff to respond to the patient.
In some facilities, often in hospitals, a more advanced system is included, in which staff from the nurse's station can communicate directly with patients via intercom. This has the advantage in which staff does not need to waste time walking to the patient's room to determine the reasonby speaking the patient made the call, and they can determine by speaking to the patient whether the situation is urgent or if it can wait until later.
With the intercom system, the alert can be turned off from the nurse's station, allowing staff to avoid entry into the patient's room if it is determined that the patient's need can be met without doing so.
Cell phone alerts
Newer technology allows call buttons to reach cell phone-like devices carried around by nursing staff. Staffers can then answer the calls from wherever they are located within the facility, thereby improving the speed and efficiency in the response.
Nurse Call Integration
Nurse Call Integration is an application that connects Nurse Call Systems to mobile communication systems and other communication platforms. This is done through a real-time communication system often called nurse call integration middleware. Middleware is powerful technology that provides the messaging backbone for critical alarm and event management in thousands of hospitals today. Nurse Call integration enables the Nurse Call System to send its many alerts, in a message format, to mobile and other communication devices. Each of these devices provides varying levels of messaging capability. Most will display a text message which typically includes the location or room number and the time the alarm was initiated, as well as the type of alarm generated. Some systems allow hospital staff to communicate directly to the patient, while more sophisticated devices allow the staff members to acknowledge, decline, escalate or forward the messages.
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