Finding the Solution: “Telesitters”

Within the acute, critical care, and long term care setting, there are many veterans at risk of hurting themselves or others. These individuals may have an increased likelihood of falling and becoming violent, can pull off lines and pull out tubes, according to an article appearing in the recent VA National Center for Patient Safety newsletter “Topics in Patient Safety”.

To deal with safety issues, the Cincinnati VA Medical Center recently integrated the “Virtual Telesitter” solution into their acute and critical care areas. The staff is available to monitor multiple high-risk veterans at the same time which allows nursing assistants to return to direct patient care activities.

The nursing staff is still used for veterans who are homicidal, suicidal, or are severely hard of hearing. The Virtual Telesitter does not replace any current safety practices as it simply enhances patient safety efforts. Clinicians can determine whether a veteran’s condition and risks call for using the system.

The Telesitter enables remote monitoring of up to 12 veterans at a time and has the ability to intervene instantly to prevent harm. The “Telesitter” is able to view the at-risk veterans anywhere in the room, which includes being able to see skin color changes, shallow breathing, and whether a veteran’s pulse oximeter is still attached.

Also, the virtual monitoring technician is able to speak to the veteran through two way audio. When there is a language barrier, staff can use their pre-recorded statements that come in more than 200 languages. If the veteran is unresponsive to verbal directions, there is an STAT alarm that automatically lets the nursing staff know to go immediately go to the veteran’s room.

In case of an emergency throughout the medical center, the Cincinnati VA has also incorporated a wireless hands free, wearable, and lightweight, voice controlled, clinical communication device into the workflow. The system includes data analytics with a real-time dashboard showing a variety of metrics including the number of carts in use, verbal redirection, and other alarm notices.

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