LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Covenant has a new way to keep an eye on patients in rooms—even when nurses aren’t there. It’s called “telesitter.” It’s a camera that allows staff to monitor patients through video in real-time.
The system was introduced to Covenant Health on June 12th. They’re the only hospital in the region with this technology.
“It’s a great safety tool for patients, family and staff members, we’re able to monitor the patients and the patients and the environment for safety,” said Carl Scales, the Telecenter Clinical Coordinator for Covenant Medical Center.
The added safety feature is not only for patients, but also for nurses and staff.
“We want to be in on those patients that are a high fall risk, high risk for pulling out lines,” said Scales, “We’ve also had occasions where we are able to monitor the situation for possible substance use that may be detrimental to the patient’s health. We can also be in there for staff safety, if we do have, you know patients or individuals in the room that may be put the staff at risk, we’re able to be in there with that staff member to be able to learn other staff members or even our security team that that staff member needs assistance.”
The camera live streams back to a hub where a staff member can monitor up to 13 patients at a time and communicate with nurses if a patient needs help-- Beneficial in utilizing the nurses time. Covenant says they don’t record video or audio through the program.
“They’re able to watch all of those patients safely on a screen and communicate with us on the floor,” said Laura Martinkewiz, a Registered Nurse on Heart Center 6 Palliative Care, “If the telecenter tells the patient ‘sit back down,’ they usually do and then they call and say, ‘Hey, so and so needs to go to the bathroom, can you head there next?’ and that frees up a ton of time. Instead of rushing every time the alarm goes off, we already know someone’s in there talking to the patient and we get there when we can.”
The telesitter can talk to patients in 27 different languages. The staff says they’ve been able to connect to patients in a unique way.
“We had a patient where we were able to zoom in close enough to help that patient with a crossword puzzle, we were able to see a word and help them find it. So, we are able to really kind of zoom in,” said Scales. “Also sometimes even if it’s working watching for patient safety, we can also have those close interactions with patients that maybe feel lonely otherwise, so we can offer some of that companionship.”
Covenant Health said they will be adding telesitters in their Plainview and Levelland locations next month. Covenant Children’s and Specialty Hospitals will get the devices around September.