A seniors’ facility in Nanaimo, B.C., was able to provide cheaper call rates to its residents and superior communication for its nurse staff by moving to a distributed telephony architecture.

Kiwanis Village OK’d the upgrade when it decided to build a new facility to offer a greater range

of care options for residents. The centre now offers three levels of care for seniors: long-term care, assisted living and independent living. Kiwanis Village constructed a 75-room multi-level care building, which opened in 2003, and retrofitted an older building into a 45-room assisted living facility, which was completed earlier this year.

“”We were going from a single level facility into a four-story facility. It was to improve communication for the nursing staff and care aides that were working, because they were going to be working on different floors,”” said Gord Bibby, Kiwanis Village administrator.

Kiwanis contracted with Delphi Solutions Corp. to replace its Meridian phone system with a Mitel SX200 platform which could provide phone service for residents and a wireless nurse call system for staff.

“”Our society’s mandate is basically to provide affordable living for our residents. But at the same time, not doing it in such a manner that they feel like second-class citizens,”” said Bibby.

“”What we wanted to provide them was a system where they could enjoy the same benefits that they were getting from the traditional suppliers — such as call display — at a reduced cost.””

Kiwanis uses Genesis call accounting software to handle its own billing and accounting.

The nurse call system is tied into a Spectralink wireless system. Rooms and bathrooms are fitted with pull cords, so if a resident needs assistance, nurses are notified immediately on their phones. “”It calls out to the handheld SpectraLink cordless telephones and displays a caller ID (with) the room number of the residence which is calling,”” said Fred Patterson, senior technician at Delphi’s Victoria office.

All of Kiwanis’ main facilities are tied together with fibre. There are four Mitel cabinets across the campus, two of them in the main building. There are also 30 independent living units and 24 independent cottages. Those are tied back into the Mitel platform using pre-existing copper connections.

“”We’re certainly seeing some cost benefits,”” said Bibby. “”The residents are very happy. They’re basically getting first-class service at a discounted rate. As soon as somebody moves in, we’re able to have them hooked up within five minutes.””

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