Volara Enables Video Calling and More on the Google Nest Hub Max in 300+ Senior Living Communities and 9,000 Residents’ Apartments Across the US and UK

New York — The social isolation required by the lingering pandemic has proven to trigger loneliness and depression among older people. To mitigate the impact of this forced separation on seniors living in affordable housing, assisted living, and independent living communities, Volara has embarked on a mission to enable a commercially viable solution that connects seniors living in residential communities to their loved ones using technology. Nine thousand Google Nest Hub Max devices — featuring 10-inch touchscreen displays, two-way Google Duo video calling, support for eight languages, and a hearing-impaired mode — have been enabled for residents living at 300+ leading senior residential communities across the United States and United Kingdom.

The Google devices are provisioned, set up, powered, and supported by Volara, the largest provider of enterprise-grade voice assistant solutions that is perhaps best known in the senior living industry for its Technology Concierge Membership Program. Volara connects each device to the residents’ WiFi (making setup hassle free) and adds all personal calling contacts on behalf of the residents so they can begin video calling by voice command within seconds after receiving the solution. By simply saying “Hey Google, call my daughter,” or “Hey Google, play I love Lucy,” or “Hey Google, what’s the weather forecast today,” seniors have instant access to people, entertainment, and information without having to look up a phone number, connect an account, or remember a thing. The breadth of rich content available to residents just by asking spans residents’ diverse passions, including health and fitness, music, film, news, religion, games, cooking and more.

The senior living organizations pioneering this voice technology effort include: Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, Eden Housing, Eskaton®, Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, HumanGood, Merrill Gardens, National Church Residences, Nicholas James Care Homes (UK), Oakland Care (UK), Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, SPM Property Management, St. Luke’s Hospital (UK), TELACU, Volunteers of America, and Watermark Retirement Communities, among others. Each of these trailblazing organizations are seeing tremendous engagement, with residents sending letters of thanks to administrators noting:

“The world to me was black and white; now it is in technicolor because of Volara and Google.”

“This is the best technology I ever used! I was able to see the face of my newborn grandson for the first time, and he lives on the East coast.”

“Finally, I look forward to getting out of bed every day because I know I can talk to my granddaughter.”

“Volara has been deploying enterprise grade voice assistant solutions in hotels, retail outlets and airports for several years,” said Volara CEO David Berger. “When COVID-19 hit, we became concerned about the impact of forced isolation on seniors and knew we could provide a solution. We became hyper focused on enabling as many seniors as possible to communicate with their children, grandchildren, doctors, and clergy face to face just by uttering a simple voice command.

“Through a collaborative effort with industry groups including CDW Healthcare, LeadingAge, the Lighthouse for Older Adults project, and Google, we were able to bring new technologies to bear, bring the product to market, and scale deployment in a matter of a few months,” he said. “Our cost-effective solution — providing hassle free implementation and measurable impact — was immediately welcomed and adopted by so many caring senior living organizations that for a time we had to stop accepting new clients. Seniors are hungry for the benefits of technology, and the forced social isolation due to the pandemic only deepened their interest.”

Senior Living Community Leaders Speak Out
“Technology’s potential to positively impact older adults’ lives and well-being is broad and deep. We know this from both our members, who provide care to residents and clients nationwide, as well as through the work of LeadingAge’s Center for Aging Services Technology, which partners with vendors, researchers, and providers to expedite the use of emerging tech to improve the aging experience. Our partnership with Volara, the solution provider that customizes, deploys, and manages the Google Nest Hub Max devices for use in affordable housing communities, is a terrific example of the technology’s benefits as well as of the continued need for our advocacy. We must ensure older adults have access to Internet service and devices so they can take advantage of the telehealth revolution and protect themselves from the ravages of social isolation.”
Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO, LeadingAge

“We are proud to be among the first senior living providers to formally test Google Nest Hub Max devices provisioned by Volara. We had a singular objective: to use this technology to connect residents to their families, friends, and loved ones through the devices’ video calling feature. By that measure, we were hugely successful. The video conferencing feature of the Google Next Hub Max combined with Volara’s ability for us to connect residents to the outside world was powerful.

“If there’s one thing COVID taught us it’s that voice-based technology has a positive impact on senior’s lives. Therefore, we must go faster and get more devices into more residents’ hands. It’s not the technology itself that is exciting, but how Volara was able to personalize it to make it easy for seniors to engage. They made it extremely easy for residents to connect with the devices and have an instant video experience.”
Davis Park, Vice President, Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing

“The Volara component is extremely easy to use. It immediately increases the digital literacy of seniors and their social connectedness. Volara made it possible for our residents to just take the Google Nest Hub Max out of the box, plug it in, and use it right away. This has been a positive experience.

“Together Volara and Google are giving our residents immediate access to their friends and family, their personal healthcare providers, our staff, and their peers throughout the residential community. If we have information for a senior, we can connect with them via the Google device rather than making them come down to the office; this is huge if the resident has mobility issues. The large video screen enables us to see the resident face to face and it resolves issues they may be having quicker. And I’ve got to say, it is a lot of fun! It brings a lightheartedness to everyone during this stressful time.”
Elaine Brattin, Planning Associate, Strategy, Eskaton

Merrill Gardens initially deployed over 850 Google Nest Hub Max devices to pilot at six of our Washington-based Independent Living and Assisted Living Communities to determine if the technology — provisioned and powered by Volara — could help residents fight social isolation. We were pleasantly surprised that the program was a huge success! We went into the trial thinking this could be a hit but not to the extent that it was. From the moment our residents were introduced to the device, it just clicked with them. Little to no training was needed. They just had to say: ‘Hey Google, call so-and-so’ and they were connected via video screen to someone by just talking. It was so easy. The biggest hurdle was getting them over the fear of trying it. But when the pandemic hit and residents were quarantined to their rooms, they were willing to do just about anything to connect with loved ones. Volara + Google is a BIG hit.

“Volara went above and beyond in making their software simple to use. There are no accounts to sign in to or passwords to remember. They knew any level of difficulty, no matter how small, would result in our seniors refusing to engage. Each device was pre-set by Volara in guest mode, so it was truly plug and play. Volara provides wonderful support. It’s the type of relationship you expect to have with a technology partner. We have weekly meetings to discuss issues, concerns, or updates. Fortunately for us, there has not been a single negative situation since the technology was deployed.”
— Dalen Newton, IT Program Manager, Merrill Gardens

“We were introduced to Volara through LeadingAge. We deployed 500 Google Nest Hub Max devices, all of which continue to be used today. With a portfolio as large as ours, deploying this number of units could have been problematic if it were not for Volara. They pre-configured each device and provided simple instructions for our staff and residents to follow. It has been a complete ‘hands-off’ experience for our IT department, and we sincerely appreciate that. If anyone calls me for help with the Google device, I simply refer them to Volara. Their team can assist with any questions remotely, so we do not need to go into each apartment to configure the devices. It’s a solid relationship.

“PVM is a company that places a lot of attention on delivering specialty services to residents that they will not find elsewhere. Safety and security are top of mind, and we look for technologies that are cutting edge, like voice command devices and video streaming. We want our residents to have these leading-edge experiences to keep them free from social isolation. At PVM we are one big family, and the interconnectivity that Volara brings with the Google Nest Hub Max is improving life and bringing better experiences to those who use it.”
Mark Kronner, Chief Technology Officer, Presbyterian Villages of Michigan
“The residential experience with the Google Nest Hub Max deployment by Volara has been amazing. We have placed the devices in every room at our care homes. What a difference they have made; we often see residents dancing to music, playing games, and watching old TV shows via the YouTube channel. Seniors are smiling again. The technology is brilliant for residents, and a tremendous help to families. Our residents love the Google devices, and we love the service we receive from the entire Volara team. The relationship is superb.

“Ideally, we would like to bring this technology to all residents in all our care homes. Volara made it so easy for us to set up and for our people to use. If anyone’s contact information changes, Volara makes the updates in minutes. Like with any technology, there was some hesitation to use it, especially among the dementia patients. But our managers sat down with them and it is tremendous that they are using it with total ease. The resident’s families are absolutely thrilled. What more could we hope for?”
Nicola Wilcock, Client Manager, Nicholas James Care Homes

“Watermark creates extraordinary communities where people thrive, and we are committed to innovations and amenities that promote healthy aging. Our 65 senior living communities coast to coast provide a lifestyle built on choice with a focus on integrative wellness. During the pandemic we were committed to keeping our residents connected to their families and friends and the Volara platform was integral to our success. A group of residents from The Fountains at La Cholla were the first to receive the Google Nest Hub Max devices with customization features added. We knew the technology would be ideal for voice-activated video calls, but we were pleasantly surprised to see just how many seniors engage with it to listen to their favorite music, check weather and look up the dining offerings for the day. We are excited about the long-term value of this technology and others which create connection and engagement, for all Watermark residents.”
Tammy Farris, Director of Strategic Innovation, Watermark Retirement Communities

“The biggest challenge that the senior residents of St. Mary’s faced since the pandemic is social isolation. They had to transition from eating meals communally in the dining room to eating alone in their apartments. The fraternization between staff and residents and residents with each other is gone. All social programs, religious services, and shuttle busses that took residents off premises has stopped. Our seniors went from having robust entertainment and exercise offerings to having nothing. Life was difficult until Volara stepped in. Now, through the Google Nest Hub Max devices, there is no longer a lack of human interaction. They can use the device to partake in Zoom services and have video calls with their families, friends and even doctors. It’s been a wonderful experience.

“Volara has been wonderful to work with. The vast amount of work they had to do on the back end to make this a simple plug-and-play experience on the front end is amazing. When we make a change request or need to add a contact, the information is uploaded instantly. We never have to wait, and that means our residents do not have to wait to call a loved one or speak to a doctor. Volara’s customer service is so seamless and painless; too bad I cannot get that type of responsiveness from the cable company. We tip our hats to Volara for their professionalism and dedication.”
Linda Kangus, Administrative Assistant, St. Mary’s Court, SPM Property Management

“The pandemic put a spotlight on the digital inequity for our residents. When they received the Google devices, it brought balance by giving digital access to everyone with WiFi. This is a BIG deal. If you are someone who lives in affordable housing, having access to technology is a challenge. Not only is it nearly impossible to afford but learning how to use it can be extremely frustrating. The Google Nest Hub Max devices managed by Volara are extremely easy to use, more so than a laptop or even a tablet. And because Volara did all the work of uploading each resident’s contacts on the backend, they were able to use it instantly. This was a colossal achievement; everyone with a device felt accomplished and purposeful. It removed the stigma of ‘I’m old, therefore I can’t use technology.’ It’s very inspiring to know there are smiles on our seniors’ faces when they are able to connect with their families through technology. This is opening the doors to so many new possibilities for them; we are confident that our resident/members will continue to embrace technology going forward.

“If there’s a silver lining to this pandemic, it’s that technology is helping to fill the void for physical activity, education, social engagements, and also providing services like online shopping. Our members are ordering pizzas … they are looking up recipes … and watching how-to craft videos. Not only are we connecting people to medicine and a social network, but Volara and Google are giving our members entertainment — residents at one co-op had their first virtual bingo session last week and it was a blast! We can’t thank them enough.”
Anne Sackrison, Chief Operating Officer, CSI Support and Development

“Since the onset of COVID, Volunteers of America National Services has been focused on alleviating social isolation of residents at our many senior living facilities. The Google Nest Hub Max devices managed for us by Volara are playing a pivotal role in making that happen as it bridges the digital divide between people, social connectivity, and healthcare. This technology is perfectly aligned with the goals of our organization and it is designed to meet the unique needs of our resident population. There are no infrastructure costs or set-up needed on behalf of staff; Volara made sure the devices were plug-and-play to immediately address the issue of social isolation. Not only are residents using the Google devices to video chat with their families, doctors, and clergy, but we are creating YouTube channels for residents to download information specific to their individual needs. And, instead of bringing outside groups in to entertain our seniors, we can connect them virtually to speakers and other organizations that provide education and entertainment while keeping our people safe.

“We are thrilled with the responsiveness of Volara through this partnership. They understand the importance of voice and video technology for interacting with and engaging our residents along their wellness journeys. We couldn’t be happier with how Volara configured the systems and continue to support our seniors and staff. They have truly taken the burden off our shoulders and placed it on their own. Oftentimes when people look at large providers like VOA, they think they have a robust technology infrastructure to support the portfolio. That just isn’t true. We do not have the capacity to roll out solutions like the Google Nest Hub Max devices without partners like Volara.”
Ryan Elza, VP of Innovation and Technology, Volunteers of America National Services

Exceptional Engagement
In addition to the popular video calling feature of the Google Nest Hub Max, seniors are using the device to view rotating images of family or events, listen to their favorite music, access daily news, hear relaxing sounds, enjoy jokes, play games, watch videos, set timers/alarms and more just by speaking simple commands pre-configured by Volara and printed on a one-page, easy-to-read instruction sheet, such as:

“Hey Google, play funny videos on YouTube.”
“Hey Google, what’s the latest news?”
“Hey Google, play jazz.”
“Hey Google, tell me a joke.”
“Hey Google, let’s play a game.”
“Hey Google, play Radio NBC.”

The high level of utilization tells a compelling story:

42% of devices used at least once daily.
Engaged devices had a median of 4 queries daily.
Devices that include custom content about the community — like dining menus and activities calendars — had an average of 3.3 additional engagements daily.
55% of used devices played music/video per day
41% of used devices gave a search/answer per day
27% of used devices made a call per day
Volara’s software is managing more than 100,000 calling contacts for seniors using the devices.

To protect residents’ privacy, Volara and Google ensure that no voice recordings are captured or stored by themselves or senior living community management. The companies have also enabled a “Signed Out” experience that ensures no residents’ personally identifiable information is connected to the devices.

“We’re proud to be partnered with Volara to bring the Google Nest Hub Max to residents of leading senior living communities,” said Heather Clancy, Head of Global Enterprise Partnerships for Devices and Services at Google. “We are heartened by the positive impact our hardware is having on seniors through this partnership. Together with Volara’s software, custom conversation development, and implementation solutions, the potential of the Google Nest Hub Max to be a game changer for the way senior living communities engage with their residents is very real and measurable.”

To see a senior engaging with Google Nest Hub Max powered by Volara, click here. For more information on the Google Nest Hub Max initiative for the senior living industry, visit volara.io.

Rendever Releases ‘The Connection Corner’ as Part of Comprehensive COVID-19 Response Plan

Today, Rendever announced the launch of a new interactive virtual reality application called The Connection Corner. The Connection Corner allows residents in senior living communities to come together and socialize with each other despite widespread lockdown measures across the industry. This is a platform advancement following several other recent pandemic-era features focusing on creating community, togetherness, and social bonds that in turn reduce loneliness, which is an epidemic that has been exacerbated by the onset of COVID-19.

The shared spaces and gathering areas of many senior living communities are empty and off-limits during this time, as residents are kept safely quarantined in their rooms and activities are limited to the hallway. The Connection Corner brings the community area directly into virtual reality, allowing residents to come together as avatars and enjoy “virtual” presence with fellow residents they haven’t been able to see since early March. Staff members have the ability to personalize avatars for each participant, ensuring residents ‘recognize’ one another in the virtual environment and feel connected to their peers. The virtual space is a warm, modern living room with plenty of seating, bookshelves, and inspiring artwork.

“The COVID-19 morbidity rate for older adults is between 10 and 27%, so our industry is taking physical distancing protocols very seriously. That said, it’s also imperative to remember that prolonged loneliness within this demographic is linked to a 30% increase in mortality rates. The Connection Corner empowers staff to deliver critical engagement opportunities, while continuing to keep residents healthy and safe,” says Kyle Rand, Cofounder and CEO of Rendever.

Rendever customer, Health PEI, was selected as a beta user prior to the launch of this new application. “The need to quarantine has been difficult, of course, but Rendever has been a real bright spot for our residents and patients. We have been amazed at how quickly they’ve released new features addressing the ‘new normal’ so that our community could continue to benefit from this amazing technology. The Connection Corner is simple in concept, but our residents and patients – particularly those that haven’t been able to visit friends on different floors, neighborhoods, or even in different buildings – are absolutely loving it,” says Paul Young, Administrator for Community Hospitals West, Health PEI.

The Connection Corner is the latest in a suite of Rendever’s platform features including two-way voice communication and live, expert-run sessions, that enables the use of social virtual reality across distances. To learn more, please visit rendever.com/covid19.


About Rendever
Rendever is overcoming social isolation through the power of virtual reality and shared experiences. From senior living communities to hospitals, their platform is being used to reduce depression and loneliness by fostering personal connections amongst populations where life has become limited. Participants in group sessions can check off bucket list items together, revisit meaningful places and share stories, stay engaged with family members, and more. Rendever is being used by high-profile senior living operators including Revera, Benchmark, and SRG, healthcare systems such as UCHealth and Cleveland Clinic, has research funded by the NIH and NIA, and has commercial partnerships with major organizations like AARP and Verizon.


Joe Sultan

Chilewich Redesigns Senior Living Interiors with Sustainable Wall Protectors and Flooring

Chilewich is a fabric design and manufacturing company that offers durable, versatile, and elegant flooring and wallpapers for senior living communities. Their products are a result of 20 years of continuous innovation to maximize performance and minimize environmental impact. Joe Sultan, CEO of Chilewich prides himself on creating sustainable products extremely well-suited for senior living environments. Chilewich’s numerous flooring and wallpaper options help to provide a safe, easy, and long-lasting living space for seniors.

Their flooring is unique because unlike carpet, it is designed so wheelchairs and walkers can roll right over the surface with no friction whatsoever. The padded backing system still provides support and a soft feel without compromising mobility, which has proven to be extremely successful within senior living facilities. Chilewich flooring also has a waterproof layer that assures long-lasting flooring and easy cleanups.

Chilewich also provides wall coverings in senior living communities as well. The wall products are crafted from a woven textile and classified as wall protection, assuring the highest level of durability. The value of Chilewich products has a lifetime value that brings both style and peace of mind to senior living communities. Typically, their floorings and wall protections are used in the hallways and common areas such as dining, fitness, and multipurpose rooms.

Chilewich products are green label certified and are tested every three months to assure they are in compliance with all safety certifications. The use of vegetable-based compounds and 100% recycled polyester felt backing to create a sustainable way to meet so many criteria for functionality. Chilewich offers installation, education, maintenance, and lifetime value with all of their floorings and wall coverings. For Sultan and the Chilewich team, “it is most important to keep a healthy building,” and there is a shared peace of mind amongst residents, families, and staff when they can be certain they are in a positive and healthy environment. In the senior living industry, ease and safety are a top priority, and Chilewich products are a sustainable way to style any senior living community

Food Services Workers Disproportionately Put Out of Work Due to Covid-19 Could be Redeployed to Fill Vital Senior Care Employment Needs

Long-term care facilities, which have long struggled with staffing shortages, could be the answer for food and hospitality service workers in need of immediate and long-term stable employment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To curb the spread of the virus, hundreds of thousands of food service and hospitality workers have lost their jobs, as government-mandated shutdowns of restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses were issued to enforce social distancing policies. Even when shelter-in-place mandates are over, it stands to reason many restaurants will not reopen and their resurgence will take time.

The pool of workers who have been displaced by this pandemic is growing with New York’s Union Square Hospitality Group laying off about 80% of its workforce and nearly 6.65 million Americans filing for unemployment in the past two weeks. This number is expected to continue to increase, as the national response to coronavirus strengthens resulting in more COVID-19-related layoffs.

The need for long-term care workers is on the rise, as the direct care workforce is projected to add more than 1.3 million new jobs between 2018 and 2028 according to PHI, an association for long-term care workers. This projection doesn’t yet take into consideration the number of jobs needed now during this pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations. An additional 6.9 million direct care jobs will also need to be filled during that time as existing workers leave the field or exit the workforce.

Senior care facilities have an opportunity to both meet an emerging need and fill the ever-growing gap in quality staffing, while simultaneously providing employment for those whose jobs were cut to protect our healthcare delivery system and the most vulnerable in our society. These facilities can offer workers steady full-time or part-time shifts and the opportunity to receive certifications in specialized areas of care during this interim.

Long-term care work can be an attractive option for workers looking to build upon their skills. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) are an ideal starting point for food service and hospitality workers looking to pursue a career in long-term care. CNAs assist patients with daily living activities that require the same level of attention to detail needed in the hospitality and food service industries.

Traditionally, CNA certification requires participants to enroll in local programs, complete a state-approved education course and competency exam. As the national response to COVID-19 increases, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has relaxed its CNA licensure requirements during the pandemic, making it easier for new staffers to begin assisting residents and patients with care.

CMS is also removing requirements that mandated specific state licensure. While not permanent, these relaxed regulations will expedite the process of becoming a CNA, allowing staff members to gain new skills quickly and putting them on a direct path towards more employment opportunities.

There is an opportunity for senior care facilities to act fast to match displaced hospitality and food service workers with senior care and health care jobs that will utilize their skills and allow them to thrive professionally.

Food service and hospitality workers already possess many of the same skills that are needed to be successful in senior care delivery. At the core of these industries is the need for exceptional customer service and ability to work to and meet standards. Just as these workers strive to give customers a premier dining experience, long-term care workers seek to provide residents with high-quality care and comfort. Likewise, both occupations require a strong attention to detail, cleanliness and hygiene, an eye for presentation and the ability to think quickly and problem-solve.

These foundational skills can translate well into care-based settings and will maintain operations as new personnel receive more job-specific training.

Providers looking to hire new staff and retain current employees should offer evenhanded scheduling and the option for split shifts, to ensure that staff is getting proper rest and residents’ needs are being met.

Providers should also consider digital avenues to bolster recruitment. Building a communication with local hospitality union groups could provide opportunities to offer digital ads directly with that workforce. Hosting a digital job fair will also give prospective candidates an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of working in a long-term care setting and ask questions about the industry.

Increasing care connectivity through telehealth options will better utilize staff and be attractive to hospitality workers looking for new employment opportunities. Telehealth systems that allow for residents to receive virtual clinical visits will mitigate exposure to bacteria and viruses and give staff extra time to complete their workloads. When time is of the essence for residents and staff, virtual visits deliver on both fronts.

As senior care facilities cater to those who are most vulnerable to this virus, they have a responsibility to help the food service and hospitality workers whose jobs and welfare were sacrificed to protect the healthcare delivery system. Hiring restaurant and hospitality workers wherever possible is a way to both meet an industry need and help those who have great skills and need opportunities.


Buyer Interactive offers COVID-19 Safety Products

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Being in this together is not a cliché. It is a reality. We can do this! Contact us for more details: sales@buyerinteractive.com or visit our website: https://buyerinteractive.com/

A Backup Plan: Using Central Station Monitoring to Ensure Every Call is Answered

It is the middle of the night. Joyce from Room 118 gets up to answer the call of nature, and falls in the bathroom. She presses her pendant button. What happens next?

The answer is, it depends. Usually, the call is received, and an aide arrives at Joyce’s room to help her. The speed at which this occurs can depend on how reliable and robust the call light system is.

But sometimes there are added complications:

  • Perhaps Joyce lives in an Assisted Living community that is lightly staffed late at night, as a cost-saving measure. Unfortunately, at the same time that Joyce needs help, the staff are busy answering other residents, which means Joyce will wait where she’s fallen until the staff is done.
  • Perhaps Joyce lives in a low-income senior housing unit, and there’s nobody staffed to even answer the call. She’ll just have to wait on the floor until tomorrow morning at 8am when she receives the automated check-in phone call. When she doesn’t answer the phone, she’ll be added to a list for someone to check on later in the day.
  • Maybe Joyce lives in Independent Living. Normally there’s someone at the night desk to receive calls, but tonight the WiFi went out, and push button calls weren’t received by the system during the 30-minute outage. Unfortunately, Joyce’s call will go unanswered.
  • Or maybe there’s an extraordinarily high volume of calls that come in right before Joyce’s call. Unfortunately, she will simply have to wait, hoping that someone received her call.

Not only is Joyce fearful and agitated, she is now at risk for dehydration, pressure sores, increased blood pressure and heightened anxiety. All of these factors can lead to a potential bad outcome for Joyce.

What can be done? How can we ensure that all residents get the help and support when they need it?

Introducing: RCare’s Central Station Monitoring Service

No matter how great your staff and your nurse call system, sometimes you need backup to make sure that none of your residents slip through the cracks. RCare has partnered with Security Central, a nationally licensed service provider with a track record for excellence and reliability. Security Central has been in business for 57 years. Their staff is available 24/7 to answer the phones, and based on the pre-set protocols for your community, to take appropriate action.

With the integration of central station monitoring into your RCare nurse call system, you can be sure that every call is answered. Depending on your pre-set protocols, the operator may first contact the resident to confirm that it isn’t a false alarm and that help is really needed. Once this has been determined, the operator will gather additional essential information before contacting emergency responders.

No matter how great your staff and your nurse call system, sometimes you need backup to make sure that none of your residents slip through the cracks.

Or, your protocol may call for a series of escalating calls to be made, e.g. first to the on-call staff, then to the facility director, then to family members, and finally to 911 (when needed). It’s entirely flexible and customizable to fit your community, your caregivers and your administrators.

You might decide that any call that has not been answered by staff after a predefined period of time can be escalated to the central monitoring system.

Not to mention, if your community experiences a tech emergency, RCare’s cellular failover backup means calls are received even during power and WiFi outages.

Who benefits from Central Station Monitoring?

From Independent Living, to Assisted Living, to Skilled Nursing, to Affordable Housing communities, Central Station Monitoring can provide endless benefits. The integration with RCare’s nurse call system ensures that room-level information is routed immediately to someone who can help.

RCare’s Central Station Monitoring works over a standard phone line, IP, or cellular. Cellular is also available as a backup option for phone lines or IP setups.

Emergencies happen and response time is critical. RCare’s integration with Security Central provides a proven, cost-effective model to provide critical, life-saving services for your residents when it matters the most.

Want to learn more? Contact RCare.

RCare’s Rapid Deployment Kit Fills Nurse Call Need for UMass Temporary Hospital

The Challenge:
UMass Memorial Hospital had a problem. At the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, it was being flooded with patients, and needed to expand capacity, fast.

The Solution:
To convert the 50,000 square foot Exhibit Hall of the DCU Center, a convention center and arena, into a “pop-up” temporary field hospital, to handle the overflow of patients.

The Timeline:
They had just ten days. They finished in eight.

The Story:
The DCU Center is an indoor arena and convention center in downtown Worcester, MA. In April, its Exhibition Hall was converted to a field hospital to help nearby UMass Memorial Hospital handle the overflow of COVID-19 patients, those sick enough to require hospitalization, but not sick enough to require ICU care or a ventilator. It was repurposed to act as both a field hospital led by UMass, and a shelter for homeless people who tested positive for the disease.

Despite the unconventional setting, with its many challenges, the quality of care needed to be top-notch, and that included the nurse call system. It had to be quick to install, and completely reliable, because lives would depend on it.

Signet Electronic Systems, a trusted RCare integrator, used RCare’s Rapid Development Kit (RDK) nurse call solution to help UMass create the temporary hospital. The installation was quick, smooth and successful.

Signet has a long-standing relationship with UMass Memorial Health Care. It installs the majority of the beds in both of their Worcester campuses as well as satellite locations, with high-end wired nurse call solutions, in addition to managing other systems such as public address and master clocks. They knew they could count on RCare for a solution that works.

Rapid Deployment Kit nurse call system includes a touchscreen server, one pendant for each patient, and four pagers. No internet connection is needed for the system, and no phone lines. The system is designed to be plug and play, and is pre-programmed to be ready to use right out of the box. One RCare RDK is fully programmed for up to 40 patients and 4 caregivers, however it can be expanded with RCare’s Expansion Kits. Patient beds are outfitted with clip-on placards that correspond to patient call buttons, so caregivers can see which patients are calling. RCare’s G4 platform provides best-in-class range to cover large campuses and deepen building penetration, which allows it to be reliable in any setting.

The UMass temporary hospital was created in a 50,000 sq ft exhibition hall with cube-type barriers separating patient spaces. Nothing could be permanently mounted. The server was placed behind folding tables that nurses use for charting, on a box, with the paging encoder on top of it. Locators were hung on centrally-located poles with tie wraps. The server and paging encoder were plugged into a network switch with a patch cable. Pendants were given to the staff for distribution to patients as they were admitted. The openness of the space proved to be a benefit for signal transmission, allowing calls to be initiated from a pendant and received the full length of the space.

The system was installed overnight, and was completed and tested the following morning. Mark Roy, Senior Client Executive at Signet, described the scene.

“Everyone was in there doing everything at the same time. Hospital folks were setting up computers, networking and other technical infrastructure, pharmacy was loading Picsys machines, Biomed was setting up all their equipment, contractors were running O2 infrastructure, and news crews were there at the same time, documenting the whole thing.

Despite the tight schedule, Mark praised the UMass staff, who were very helpful, and provided everything needed in record time.

UMass returned the compliment. Sean Grady, Unit Coordinator for UMass Memorial said this about the installation:

“The RCare rollout was probably the best of any  vendor rollout involved with the DCU project. From project management to technical install, it could not have gone any more smoothly. I can tell you that the nurse call system has worked great for us at the field hospital we have set up in Worcester.”

RCare is proud to be part of the solution for this ambitious project. Our Rapid Deployment Nurse Call Kit (RDK) is a plug-and-play, portable, pre-programmed nurse call system in a box that can be set up in hours instead of days, in a situation lacking standard infrastructure, while providing the critical, reliable communications required in a hospital setting, even a non-traditional one.

OZ Architecture Releases Insight Report on Future of Senior Living Design

DENVER, CO–OZ Architecture, an award-winning national architecture and design firm, has released the “Designing for Emergency Preparedness Insight Report,” which outlines design considerations that can help reduce the spread of disease and infection in older adult communities.

In recent years, many older adult communities have shifted away from the healthcare-oriented design of skilled nursing and hospitals in favor of spaces that provide a greater sense of community and emotional well-being. However, new design challenges have arrived as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, showing that older adult populations can be highly susceptible to disease and infection spread in common living communities.

The “Designing for Emergency Preparedness Insight Report” lays out multiple design solutions that can be implemented during an emergency to reduce the spread of disease. Specifically, it provides actionable design solutions that can help reduce the transmission of germs through architectural design that lends itself to the compartmentalization of residents and staff; mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; limiting outside sources from entering resident units, entering the community, or reducing the travel distance once inside; interior design solutions; and technology.

“COVID-19 will have a drastic and lasting impact on senior living communities and will forever change the way we design and build spaces for older adults,” said Jami Mohlenkamp, principal at OZ Architecture, head of the firm’s Senior Living practice area and industry expert. “We can overcome many of the challenges associated with the spread of disease through design, while also continuing to create spaces that foster community and combat isolation. This report is designed to give operators a look at the future of design for older adult communities.”

Download the full report free here: https://ozarch.com/2020/05/future-of-designing-for-emergency-preparedness-in-senior-living-communities/

Headquartered in the vibrant RiNo district of Denver, and with studios in Boulder and Colorado Springs, OZ Architecture has been at the forefront of design since 1964. The OZ team includes over 165 architects, designers, strategists, and artists whose broad range of expertise and passions create a variety of project types on every continent.