Communication at Smaller Healthcare Facilities
Don’t Let Size Fool You, Risk is Everywhere
Just because you’re not in a multi-level hospital does not mean you don’t need effective communication between staff and patients. Effective communication may be even more important in a smaller healthcare setting because security personnel are not always available, and many times, paramedics are not on site. Below are a few ways that you may choose to communicate with staff and patients in a small healthcare setting such as, assisted living homes, clinics, or specialty offices.
Two-way radios can be very useful in these smaller environments. Keeping one at the front desk, the nurse’s station and on each doctor can be effective in requesting things like a wheelchair, or help lifting a patient. Two-way radios can be convenient in streamlining the process of helping patients, without leaving them during a time when they are in need.
Rapid Responder Easy Alert is an internal communication tool that can be used between staff to send an alert of an incident such as a medical emergency, a violent visitor, armed intruder, missing patient, etc. Easy Alert can be used on iOS and Android devices with an internet or Wi-Fi connection. It offers a timestamped log of events including the incident, the response, and any updates and correspondents that are logged between users. This option is useful in emergency situations where all staff can easily communicate with each other from devices they likely are already using.
It is important to communicate with patients at smaller healthcare facilities as well. If you are at an assisted living facility, have speakers and alarms in each patient room. Do not rely on hallway intercoms and alarms to reach patients in their rooms with the door shut. If at a clinic, those in patient and exam rooms need to hear warnings and alarms as well. Having these one way intercoms to alert patients and guests of an incident is critical to ensuring safety for all in potentially unsafe situations.
Panic buttons are often used in large hospitals, but they can be useful for smaller environments. Panic buttons should be installed in all offices, rooms, and restrooms in your facility. Remember, they are not just there for use by patients, they can also be used by staff to alert the front desk of an emergency in a patient room, without leaving the patient’s side. Panic buttons are best used in slip, trip or fall incidents, medical emergencies, missing patient, etc.
We often hear of communication needs for healthcare complexes and hospitals, but very rarely about small facilities or even assisted living facilities. These small organizations are just as critical and often experience similar safety and security issues as a large hospital. Using these recommendations as a building block, talk to your staff about ways you can increase communication with not only staff, but patients and visitors as well.