Piccole Sorelle dei Poveri Institute, Italy

Piccole Sorelle dei Poveri Institute of Rome adopts centralization of alarms for patient safety

Centralization of alarm systems in health and social welfare facilities is crucial for ensuring the safety and security of those receiving care. With that in mind, the Piccole Sorelle dei Poveri Institute of Rome, a retirement home for the elderly, has adopted Ascom’s advanced workflow and alarm management software as well as handheld DECT phones.

About the facility

The Piccole Sorelle dei Poveri is an international congregation founded in 1839 by Saint Giovanna Jugan. Together with a diverse network of collaborators, the Piccole Sorelle takes care of elderly individuals in over 30 countries around the world, looking after them as if they were a family and accompanied with dignity.

The Institute of Rome, in the Monti district, which currently houses around fifty residents, has adopted Ascom’s solutions, focusing on a centralized alarm system aimed at ensuring greater safety for the individuals who are being cared for.

“Our institute is a shelter for elderly people and its purpose is to undertake the work that was initiated in 1839 by our Founder. We believe that the elderly always take precedence,” explained the Mother Superior, who then added, “We depend on charity to provide for our elderly”. We do not receive state subsidies or help from corporate organizations. We carry on this work only through providence and the voluntary efforts of those who wish to help those who still have a significant presence in our society.”

The facility

The Piccole Sorelle dei Poveri Rome-based facility consists of a main three-storey building and some small satellite facilities located within the garden. Each resident has a private room with a private bathroom.

“Almost all the rooms are private. On the second floor, we have a section with double rooms that are allocated to couples. However, as we don’t have any couples at the moment, we prefer to leave the residents alone in their rooms and spare them the trouble of living with other individuals which could be a challenge for them,” stressed the Mother Superior.

Guests and staff

The facility currently houses 50 elderly individuals, but has the capacity to house up to 59. Staff are present 24 hours a day and the team comprises 32 employees who work in shifts.

“We don’t have any on-site doctors, but we have primary care physicians providing routine check-ups, and we have two lay nurses and one on-site nurse. We also have a volunteer doctor and cardiologist who come to help us every week, and obviously, specialists are called when needed,” said the Mother Superior.

“Within the facility, the guests live like a large family and the relationship with the staff is based on trust, and is also very human.”

The importance of the solution when it comes to managing the facility has been crucial because it managed to position itself at the center and facilitate communication among all the parties involved that previously operated within their own isolated areas.
Salvatore Perrone
IT Manager, Piccole Sorelle dei Poveri

Why Ascom’s solutions were chosen

“The reason to equip the facility with a centralized alarm management system was primarily governed by a desire to ensure greater safety for the residents,” said the Mother Superior.

“Thanks to this system, our residents can call us at any time, day or night, and there is always someone there who can respond to them. Even before the adoption of this system, there has always been a system with the management of alarm bells in all the homes of the Little Sisters of the Poor, even if it was a little old-fashioned.”

The Rome-based facility was reopened after renovation in May 2006, and many aspects of the institute were revolutionized, from the foundations to the roof, and compliance was enforced with current regulations.

“Since the renovation, the care home has improved a lot. However, after almost 20 years there are aspects that need to be updated, implemented or, more simply, that have shown critical issues. The alarm system, for example, malfunctioned, and the bells got stuck. At that point, following a suggestion of a sister originally from the Philippines who had experience with Ascom in the East, it was decided to look at new solutions. We are currently still striving to perfect it as best as possible, but the situation has improved greatly thanks to the adoption of DECT d63 hand-held devices. This way, calls are received by the department and on mobile devices.”

Technical aspects: the Ascom solution

The Institute of the Piccole Sorelle dei Poveri of Rome, which is a social-welfare residential facility, had a number of different systems to consider as part of the project.

As well as Ascom’s new solution, and the management of the alert flow on DECT terminals, there was an old analog telephone system, with an old language and an old data transmission system, and a recently updated third-party fire-prevention system.

“These are closed systems that are noted for their closed protocols. Finally, there is a nurse call system, which is provided by third parties. Currently, with Ascom we are also managing remote monitoring systems for heating and air-conditioning systems of other brands,” clarified the IT manager.

Interoperability is key

Ascom’s unique selling point lies in the interoperability of its solutions. Thanks to this, it was possible to network and make all the different systems present at the facility communicate with each other.

“This hasn't been a simple task. The work was complex, but completed well, thanks to the presence, availability and ability of Ascom to offer suggestions when implementing solutions. We managed to get out of a very complex situation, thanks to the internal wireless systems. Before Ascom entered the facility, we had no mobile devices, and our alarm systems only reported a signal. All of this was exacerbated by unorthodox ad-hoc systems added over the years. The Ascom solution brings order to everything that had previously been executed in a less than optimal manner,” Perrone emphasized, concluding:

“The importance of the solution when it comes to managing the facility has been crucial because it managed to position itself at the center and facilitate communication among all the parties involved that previously operated within their own isolated areas.”

Work is also currently in progress with the telephone network to create a system in which telephony and DECT can speak to each other in the most functional way possible, as if it were a new single modern system.

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