GFH Invests in Innovative TeleSitter System

Glens Falls Hospital has invested in an important tool to help keep patients safe and improve staffing efficiency. On December 3, 2015, we began using the highly regarded AvaSys® TeleSitter®system — 10 remote-controlled video cameras placed in the rooms of patients who are in need of constant, round-the-clock observation. Previously, GFH used sitters or patient care techs to stay with these patients, but this means there are fewer staff members on the floor to care for other patients.

The TeleSitters® is primarily used for patients with dementia or other conditions that may lead them to try to leave their beds or room if unattended, as well as patients in an agitated condition who may be inclined to pull out tubes or other equipment. Certain patients who are at highest safety risk continue to receive 24-hour in-room monitoring by a sitter.

All 10 video images are monitored by a single, specially trained patient care tech working in a control room. Techs rotate through the position in four-hour shifts. The system allows the tech to communicate with the patient via intercom in an effort to stop any potentially harmful actions. Techs can also activate a “validated” STAT alarm on the unit, alerting nurses and other staff that immediate help is needed.

The system provides a live feed only; it does not record the activity in the room. Cameras are temporarily set to a privacy setting when a patient is receiving personal care, such as baths or physical assessments.

Nurses and other direct-care staff, as well as nursing leadership, received intensive training in how the system works prior to the launch. “Studies show that this system is very effective in reducing falls and protecting patient safety,” said Mary Sweeney, RN, Senior Director of Nursing Operations/Associate Chief Nursing Officer. “And because techs don’t have to be reassigned to in-room monitoring any longer, they stay out on the unit and are available to help a greater number of patients.”