Written by Sarah Hunt, Aid Call.
In recent years wireless technology has come to dominate the industrial sphere. This has driven developments in the mobility and convenience of the appliances upon which we depend in both our professional and personal lives. Nevertheless, the place of wireless technology in the nurse call market has long been debated.
Nurse Call systems are designed to alert staff to a call by a patient or resident who needs assistance. While this fundamental requirement hasn’t changed, the technology behind modern systems is far removed from those of the past. One such development is the introduction of wireless networks in addition to hard-wired ones. Here we look at the differences between these two types of system to determine why wireless units have become the more popular choice.
As the name suggests, hard-wired systems rely on cable networks to connect each device. This will run through the walls and floors of the site similar to the electrical networks within our homes. The installation of a hard wired system therefore demands greater man power, time and funding.
In the case of wireless systems, batteries are used to power the devices and radio waves communicate between them. Without the need for expensive cabling each call point is secured using just a bracket and two screws. This means the time to complete installation is far reduced as is the disruption to staff and service users. They do not damage décor, can be placed wherever is convenient and are not accompanied by trailing wires meaning they are also likely to be more aesthetically pleasing.
As technology advances so do the capabilities of Nurse Call equipment. You can now expect features such as site maps, bed side light controls, call data logging and compatibility with preventative devices such as movement sensors, enuresis monitors and epilepsy mats. Both wired and hard-wired systems offer these benefits. However, the effectiveness of these additions is heightened when linked to a wireless system because the install is specific to each site.
Traditional concerns surrounding wireless systems centre upon the reliability of the connection they offer compared to hard-wired ones. Dead spots, interference and call congestion were once problematic but this is not the case for modern systems. Detailed site surveys will ensure signal boosters are positioned where needed and interference is prevented by operation on protected, dedicated frequencies. Most importantly, wireless systems offer a safe, dependable connection equal to their hard-wired counterparts.
Flexibility is one feature that has become particularly prominent in a time where the health and care environment is evolving faster than ever before. Hospitals and Care Homes now require their Nurse Call system to adapt, evolve and expand with them.
The main drawback of hard-wired systems is that they are static. Any adjustments or additions will require an engineer call-out and, as with their installation, will cause considerable interference to the general running of the site.
Contrastingly, wireless systems are hugely flexible and mobile as they are not limited by wires and cable points. Their install is specific to each site and they are easily changeable should layouts or requirements change over time and, because they are modular, they can be added to with ease.