Multiple Communities using RTLS
From independent living to skilled nursing, Kingston Healthcare prides itself on high quality, compassionate, and technologically advanced care. Among other state-of-the-art systems such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and automated medication dispensing, the Versus Visibility™ Resident Care real-time locating system (RTLS) helps distinguish Kingston as a leading edge, progressive care provider.
Kingston began its journey with Versus RTLS in 2004 when executives flew to Ottawa, Canada to see a live system in place at the Sisters of Wisdom long-term care facility, installed in 2001.
“We were pretty impressed,” recalls Kent Libbe, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kingston Healthcare. “The information you get from knowing the locations of residents and staff was very intriguing.”
Kingston installed Versus at their Sylvania and Vermillion, Ohio locations. At the time, Libbe envisioned using the system much like Sisters, including assigning RTLS locating badges to both residents and caregivers, as well as integrating with a two-way voice communication system.
“We currently assign the RTLS badges to caregivers,” he notes. “But I’ve always thought it would be a great selling point to potential residents and their families, for residents to have a badge. Since it’s equipped with an emergency call button, the resident would be able to call for assistance no matter where they are in the facility.”
With Versus Visibility Resident Care, Kingston gained a tremendous amount of data to use for staff management and process improvement.
The first benefit of the system, explains Libbe, is the real-time awareness of resident calls and staff location. Each resident room contains three call devices — at the bedside, by the commode, and in the shower.
When residents need assistance, the call is sent to a kiosk at the nursing station, where a pop-up message indicates which room originated the call, from which area (bed, commode or shower), and how much time has elapsed since the call was placed. The system also triggers messages to pagers worn by caregivers.
The only way for a call to be cancelled is by a caregiver’s presence at the location of the call. Thanks to the RTLS badges worn by staff, which determine location based on Infrared and RFID technology, their presence in the resident’s room automatically cancels the call, and the exact response time is recorded.
This automatic cancellation allows caregivers to immediately attend to patients without the need to press a call cancel button. The RTLS badges also provide staff real-time visibility of each other’s locations at the nursing station kiosk.
Yet the most essential feature of Versus Visibility Resident Care, according to Libbe, is the data it generates. “It’s about having information on who is in which locations, who is providing care to which residents, in which rooms at what times,” he explains. “My managers want to know, not only how fast the call was being answered, but who was answering it.”
To that end, Versus developed a “Resident Call Report” for Kingston. The report is now one of 20 standard reports in Reports Plus™ Analytics, part of the Visibility Resident Care package. Managers can quickly and easily run reports on call response times, location histories and more.
“Having that data can really help troubleshoot, improve your processes and become best in class,” Libbe says.
Validating Care, Evaluating Staffing with RTLS Data
“We’ve been doing a lot of research using Versus reports,” Libbe continues. “Without this system, we wouldn’t be able to look this deeply to see how our processes are working.”
For example, Libbe relates a hypothetical situation. “If we had a long response time that should never happen, through the Versus reports, management could see where everybody was at the time of that call.”
He further explains, “Say there are three aides, and each are pulled into a time-consuming activity with a resident. All of a sudden the fourth and fifth calls get made by two other residents. The problem is, as the aides need to be 100 percent focused on the first residents. Even though their pager is going off, they really can’t respond.”
By analyzing call response times and staffing, Kingston can adjust nurse to patient ratios, then compare response times.
In other facilities, Libbe says, long response times might be blamed on aides not doing their jobs. Using Versus reports, he can debunk that myth. “I rarely, if ever, see that as the problem,” he notes. “With Versus, at least we can look and see what’s causing the long call.”
Libbe says the caregivers appreciate the accurate, objective data the system provides. “They know management is getting the whole story.”
In 2007, Kingston Care Center of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was planning an expansion. The facility’s management team looked at other systems used by their sister facilities. “They made the decision that Versus was the system they wanted,” Libbe says. “They liked the feedback; they liked the reporting and the information that would help to manage staff.”
Libbe adds, “The installation at Fort Wayne was our best implementation at the time, because we absolutely had 100 percent buy-in commitment from the management team.”
When Kingston next installed Versus in 2013, they first did some due diligence. “We did a pretty exhaustive search, because although we really liked Versus, you do have to manage the system,” Libbe explains. “Because there’s more features, it’s more complex.”
Libbe and his colleagues did an exhaustive review of several vendors. “Even though we thought we might go with one of the more basic systems, when it came down to it, every feature our facility management teams kept asking about were features that only Versus could provide.”
Versus Visibility Resident Care was installed at Kingston’s new facility in Perrysburg, Ohio in August 2013. This is Kingston’s first system utilizing Versus’ next-generation software platform, including the improved Rules Engine™ that triggers notifications, and Enterprise View™, which displays staff locations.
Libbe is pleased with the updated technology. “You can do just about anything with it — any scenario, any relationship, or any set of events can trigger notifications. It’s running pretty gracefully and effectively.”
Kingston has made the decision to not only install Versus in two more facilities, but also upgrade all three of their older systems to Versus’ latest platform.
“There’s been pretty significant improvement in the product and badges since we first installed Versus,” Libbe notes. “That’s one of the nice things about our long relationship, to see Versus continue to make the system better all the time.”
Kingston Healthcare serves Ohio, Indiana, New Mexico and North Carolina with assisted living, independent living, memory care, occupational therapy, speech therapy, rehabilitation, long-term care services and more.