OBS Unit enlists help of patients to select new call bells

OBS Unit enlists help of patients to select new call bells

The patient modeling this call bell said she appreciated that it was big enough to see!

Situation: The electronic call bells on Observation Unit were older models with very few features. 

Background: The call bells had only two features: summon a nurse or turn on the TV. If patients wanted to change the TV channel using the call bell, they could (but only by going up, channel by channel). To turn the TV off, they had to hold down the TV button and click through four channels before it would power off. There was no way to control the lights with these particular models, and, not surprisingly, staff received quite a few complaints regarding these call bells.

Assessment: Information on upgrading the unit’s call bells was brought to the OBS Quality Council. Lil Banchero, RN, advisor for OBS quality council, suggested that the call cell vendor be contacted and asked if samples of more appropriate options could be sent to the unit. She suggested that patients be asked to give their opinion on which call bell they preferred. 

Recommendation: We received two different styles of call bell. Ten patients tested both and were asked which one they preferred. The result was unanimous—every patient chose the same style. In October, OBS replaced seven of the older call bells with these patient-selected models. Patients tell us they are much more user friendly and efficient. Additional call bells have been ordered for the Observation Unit and the plan is for all nineteen rooms to have one soon! 

-Jennifer Herzig RN,BSN,PCCn


  1. Posted by Tyrell Forrester, at Reply

    The Observation Unit is a great place to work we strive for excellence everyday in whatever we do there. The patients are great also treated with the best care. The only issue is having no windows what the patients mainly talk about, we work together.

  2. Posted by Marianne McKiernan, at Reply

    The new call bells are amazing and are a small perk for our patients. Thanks Jen for getting it done:-)!

  3. Posted by Barbara Weedman, at Reply

    The hands shown are those of my 94 year-old Grandmother. Thanks for providing her with such excellent care. Our family was very impressed. Amazingly, she is back home now in her own apartment with her own computer. She has been an Internet whiz for years and will see and read this blog! Thanks, nurses, for all you do. Your vital work is appreciated.

  4. Posted by Cynthia Benedict, PCT II, at Reply

    We often hear complaints such as not having enough space, not having windows or even a real bathroom! It’s nice to finally have something that the patients are happy about.
    Since we have started using the new controllers, the patients have really appreciated having them. It’s the little things that matter most sometimes! Great Job Jen….you are the best!!!!

  5. Posted by Kathleen Kelm, at Reply

    I always wanted to be the bell of the ball. Now I’m happy about the bell down the hall.

  6. Posted by Kim Powell, RN, at Reply

    Working on the obs unit, I know first hand how frustrating the old call bells were and how much nicer for the patients these new call bells are. Thanks Jen for all your hard work and research on this..I know the patients appreciate it as well as the staff!

  7. Posted by Mary Etta Barbour, at Reply

    While each of us knew this was a huge dissatisfaction for our patients, it was because of Jen that this project got started.
    Jen’s passion for seeking avenues to continuously improve and advance our level of care, is catalyt to keeping us on our toes!! Thanks so much, for all you do, to continually “take it up a notch” in Observation!!
    Lil’s thought to let our patients have a part in the decision, could only improve on the choice! Great idea, Lil!!
    In a selfish thought, the new call bells have made my job easier!! I am grateful for that! Thanks so much!

  8. Posted by Rita Linnenkamp, at Reply

    What a great example of partnering with patients! Great job OBS. This is patient-and family-centered care.

  9. Posted by katie, at Reply

    Great blog! Asking the patient makes absolute sense and it does make the decision making process simpler! Really good example of partnering.

  10. Posted by Deanna Leone, at Reply

    Great write up Jen. Job well done.

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