Published on September 02, 2015

AvaSys Tele-Sitters Reduce Staffing Pressures

 

In the past, a patient considered at higher risk for a fall, or a patient with diminished cognitive function, often required having a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the patient’s room continuously.

The same high-risk patient today is still be monitored constantly, but the monitoring is being done much differently by Genesis Medical Centers in Davenport, DeWitt, Silvis and Aledo.

Watching over the higher risk patients these days is an AvaSys Monitoring System. The AvaSys Monitors, often called tele-sitters, virtually monitor the patient but also the patient’s monitors in the room.

Instead of one-on-one sitting by a CNA, one certified nursing assistant can be watching the monitors of nine patients at multiple hospital sites from one central location.

The tele-sitters have created efficiencies while maintaining the nationally recognized patient safety record of Genesis Medical Centers.

“We have been able to alleviate some of the staffing issues we faced when monitoring patients one-on-one,’’ explained Keith Rossmiller, nursing business operations director. “Instead of having CNAs monitoring individual rooms, we have been able to put them at the bedside taking care of patients.’’

Since acquiring the tele-sitters, Genesis Medical Centers have been able to cover 1,705 eight-hour shifts with virtual monitor techs and keep CNAs at the bedside for patient care shifts.

In the six months starting in January 2015 when Genesis began using the tele-sitters, $122,200 was saved by being able to place CNAs on the floor caring for multiple patients instead of having them monitor individual patients. The cost of the tele-sitter equipment over five years is approximately $300,000.

The tele-sitters allow patients to communicate with the monitor technician. The monitor technician can see and hear what is going on in the room. A privacy mode can shut down the monitors.

The monitors are also multi-lingual with programmed messages for patients who are non-English speakers.

The tele-sitters feature high quality video with pan, tilt and zoom features for up-close observation of patient and patient monitors.  Infrared lighting permits the technician to read monitors in darkened rooms.

Many hospitals and health systems have introduced AvaSys tele-sitters as part of a program to reduce falls.  Genesis already had a vigorous and successful fall prevention program in place. There have been no serious fall events since implementing the tele-sitters.

“For hospitals that didn’t already have strong fall-prevention protocols in place, the tele-sitters have made a big difference,’’ Rossmiller said. “We already had fall-prevention policies in place and they were working. They are still working with the tele-sitters.

“Our benefit has been more the ability to redirect staff right to the bedside.  It has been a huge win in our staffing.

“And the patients like the monitoring.  They develop a bond with the monitor techs.  The monitor techs might recognize a patient who is lonely and needs someone to talk with and the tech talks with them. It might be just a question, ‘do you need anything?’ Or it might be an ongoing conversation.

“We think the tele-sitters can answer some of the questions of patients and relieve some of their stress when no one is in the room with them.’’

Peggy Schaefer, manager of the Genesis Regional Referral Center, said the tele-sitters are most frequently used for patients at risk for elopement (walking off), cognitively impaired patients, patients at elevated risk for falls and non-English speaking patients.

Genesis Health System has implemented 17 of the monitors. There are 12 in use at Genesis Medical Center, Davenport; 3 at Genesis Medical Center, Silvis and one each at Genesis Medical Centers in DeWitt and Aledo.


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