Remote Sitter Program Introduced at Presence Health Fox River Valley Hospitals
Made possible through generous supporters, including a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley
May 2, 2018 (Aurora, IL)—Presence Health recently introduced its proprietary telehealth patient monitoring system, Remote Sitter, into the Fox River Valley region with the goal of improving patient safety by reducing the risk of falls.
The risk of patient falls is a daily concern for hospital nurses and staff. While in the hospital, patients are often in a weakened state and may be on medications that impact their cognition or gross motor function. The Advisory Board estimates approximately three to five falls per 1,000 patient days, with as many of half of those falls resulting in injury. According to Presence Health Fox River Valley Chief Nursing Officer, Grace McBride, the greatest opportunity to reduce the impact of falls is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Typical protocols for fall risk prevention include daily patient assessments and may require monitoring by a staff member who physically sits in a patient’s room for extended periods of time. While these tactics can be effective, they also increase workload and may take time away from other patents on the floor. Presence Health’s innovative Remote Sitter program has been designed to provide patients with the extra level of monitoring that they need but in a streamlined and efficient manner and was recently introduced at Presence Mercy Medical Center in Aurora and Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin.
With the Remote Sitter program, patients are assessed with a standardized tool to determine their risk of falling. If patients meet the criteria, they are provided with a telehealth cart in their room that houses a video screen, camera and sound system. Medical personnel at Presence Health’s telehealth facility in Bolingbrook are trained to observe the patients, identify signs of a potential fall and alert staff members, as appropriate.
One of the two carts that was recently introduced at Presence Mercy Medical Center (PMMC) was generously donated to the hospital by the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley (CFFRV). On Wednesday, April 4, representatives of the CFFRV joined Presence Health Foundation Board members and PMMC leadership for a celebration and demonstration of the new technology.
Attendees were able to experience first-hand what a patient would experience with the Remote Sitter program. Jeff Hartman, President & CEO, Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, was impressed with the capacity of the program, stating, “The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley is honored to be a part of this wonderful contribution that Presence Mercy Medical Center is able to make to patient care for families in our community. It is so wonderful that patient family members, who may have been afraid to leave the hospital in fear of a family member falling, can now leave and feel confident that their loved ones will have someone attending to their needs at all times. This program not only helps the patient, but the whole family.”
The Remote Sitter program has been implemented in four hospitals within the Presence Health system. According to Presence Health System Director of Telehealth Strategy and Development, Laura Messineo, there have been no falls with injuries reported since the program’s inception in Oct. 2014. Messineo said Presence Health developed the software for Remote Sitter with an outside vendor. She said Presence Health plans to offer Remote Sitter to additional internal and external facilities.