call lights

  1. Our facility is trying to find new ways to cut down on call light ringing. Does anyone have any suggestions you would like to share? We have nursing assistants to help the nurses answer the lights, but we still have problems getting all of the lights answered in the way our management would like (first ring) or even better, no ringing at all.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   Huganurse
    Not that this is a scientific approach, but I have found that if I take the time to visit all of my patients and introduce myself at the beginning of the shift, the lights ring alot less during the shift. I usually do my head to toe and VS at that time and let them know that they are ok. I also try to do a little teaching too. This gives them something to practice or think about. Many light ringers are attention seeking. I give the attention first and then they seem happy. Keeping the water filled and bedside table close to the patient helps also. When I'm in the room I ask if there is anything they need and then make a list. I promise the patient I'll be back after my rounds except for pain meds which I get right away. I explain that I have 11 other patients to take care of and that I will do my best to be prompt. They seem to understand, most of the time, and are usually more patient with me! I think everyone has their own technique to handle the patients and keep call lights from ringing. Anticipating the patients needs before they even know what they want or need saves me time and headaches later. Hope this helps!
  4. by   thisnurse
    good philosophy hugs
    i like the way you think. in the long run it saves you time.
  5. by   Teshiee
    You are so right! When I worked on the MED/SURG unit. I go to each of my patients did all what I had to do. I notice I was able to sit down because I made sure all their needs were addressed. You are good!
  6. by   kaycee
    If your management truely wants no ringing at all, my suggestion is to either hide all call lights from pts, or disconnect them.
  7. by   mtnzhigh
    I am fortunate to work at a hospital with an excellent nurse to pt ratio, but as everyone knows when one patient is in pain it can mean others may not see me for a while. I try to explain that generically to my patients what the hold up is and have my coworkers cover me while I put out the fire until I can focus on the next need at hand. When I work agency at the busier hospitals with more patients I frequently "find" the call lights well out of reach of the elderly bed bound folks and it is heart breaking (and hopefully unintentional). Easy to say the solution is better staffing, wish we could make administration bed bound in need of Adls and feedings, maybe they would see the light.
  8. by   debbyed
    You seem to have the root of the problem covered. When patients know who you are, that you care and that you are truely trying to meet all their needs they tend to feel more confortable and satisfied, hence less bell ringing.

    You can be my nurse anytime
  9. by   Cascadians
    We have a pt in LTC who is a neurotic call bell maniac. She is of course the last pt at the far end down a long hallway.

    We are about to have her family speed-dial the nursing station phone # into the pt's phone. Way easier to just answer the phone and tell her yes we remember you exist than run to her room umpteen times.

    Our call light system doesn't have PA :_(
  10. by   OC_An Khe
    Huganurse's suggestion is truly helpful and shoud be incorporated into everyones practise. It will notwork however unless you are adequately staffed. Start there first.
  11. by   thisnurse
    sometimes the call bells in our hospital are set so that the only one that can see or hear them is me. i know thats what is going on because if anyone else could hear or see them they would answer them. sometimes the other nurses and assistants are standing right under them. they just ring and ring. im finally glad i realized that this conspiracy was going on because it was getting really aggrevating there for a while.
  12. by   moonshadeau
    Yesterday I had four patients, which really isn't a lot. Not one of them rang once in all of the 8 hours that I was there. However, seeming that they were all non-verbal, unresponsive,comfort care type patients. I think that I ran more that day than a day when every single patient rings 50 trillion times. There is the turning, the hourly ativan and morphine, the fluid bolus to keep the B/P greater than 80, the tube feeding boluses,neuro checks (all on different patients), I would glady taken the bell ringers any day than that load.
  13. by   nosilanurse

    I agree with hugs suggestions although sometimes u feel like u have no time what so ever to get to do that much hands on pt care in the long run it saves ur feet and ur time, it also makes ur pts feel better.
  14. by   PhantomRN
    Yep, do the same thing as Hugs. When I come on shift I always go to each of my patients and introduce myself, chat with them a few minutes, do a little teaching, ask if they have any questions about anything and tell them the plan that I have for the day for them ie. If they are on Q1hr neuros or whatever I let them know I will be in frequently and why. I also ALWAYS ask the elders if they have any special concerns EX. do they need to void frequently, do they have trouble pushing the call light.

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