Everyone Can Answer the Call

I heard a great, simple care suggestion while participating on the CARF International Standards Advisory Committee last week in Washington, D.C. that I wanted to share with you. The suggestion came from Karen Schoeneman, a Senior Policy Analyst with CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) who said that research shows that the majority of the time a resident rings their call button it is for a non-care related concern, such as picking something up off the floor or adjusting the thermostat.

So her suggestion–that many facilities have implemented to great success–is to make all staff members responsible for answering call buttons.

For those of you in facilities that utilize call button (a.k.a. call lights or call bells) this is a cost-effective solution you can implement quickly and easily by establishing a policy that all staff (housekeeping, maintenance, management) take responsibility for responding to a call light when they are close by the resident’s room. You will of course want to incorporate safety contingencies into your policy, such as having a mechanism for ensuring caregiver follow up when needed, verifying all call buttons are responded to, etc.

The benefits of this policy include a more even distribution of the workload and improved resident satisfaction. One of the most common complaints among residents in facilities that use call buttons is that it takes too long to get a response.

Take this easy idea back to your team and work on implementing it. When done right, both your staff and residents will thank you for it.

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