Ask the Expert

"Are nurse call products required in public restrooms in hospitals? I know they are required in patient restrooms and not required in staff restrooms. Is there a code that references this?"
There are no national or international code requirements for pull string stations in public restrooms, however, there are some local codes that do require them. Usually this requirement is only associated with restrooms in public medical facilities like clinics and hospitals. The best way to know whether they are required is by contacting your local authority.

Aside from code, it is recommended as a best practice to have pull string stations next to every toilet in public restrooms in medical facilities.

"Is there a difference between a duty station and an emergency station in a nurse call system?"
The SmartCare Duty Station is a remote annunciation device designed to alert staff of a call on the system. When a call station that is assigned to a Duty Station is activated, the Duty Station makes a pulsing tone and lights up with a color and flash rate associated with the device.

Emergency Stations, like Pull String Stations, Push Button Stations, and Code Blue Stations all have their purpose and it depends on the facility as to how they’re used. These stations are patient or staff-initiated devices used to alert staff. There are priority levels (low/medium/high) associated with the devices. High priority calls are what we would refer to as "Emergency Stations".

Supervised Nurse Call Systems

RATH® Nurse Call - Supervised Nurse Call Systems

A Nurse Call System is a low-voltage emergency response system that fits into the "Life Safety" category. Nurse Call is used to notify staff that there’s a need for assistance. These systems are typically used in nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. As technology advances so do nurse call systems, however, many older systems are still being used and installed.

With emergency response systems, like Nurse Call, time is of the essence.

  • Once a signaling device is activated it is important that staff respond immediately to help with the situation

  • If a Nurse Call device doesn’t work, it can be extremely dangerous and even life threatening

  • If each device is supervised and reports back if there is an issue, this potential catastrophic failure in communication will be avoided

Supervision is now a mandatory requirement for Nurse Call systems under UL 1069 Edition 7. "The fuses in a code call circuit and a centralized system control unit shall be electronically supervised." "The maximum time from the occurrence of a fault or adverse condition in any communication path is 90 seconds." (UL 1069 Edition 7) UL has recognized this flaw in technology and realizes the importance of supervision.

Unfortunately, there are still many UL listed systems without this important feature. Since many of the older systems were UL listed in the past, and the technology didn’t provide supervised circuitry, they have been "grandfathered" in and are still UL 1069 certified. These systems are still in many facilities today and are being installed in new facilities.

Although the reasoning is unclear as to why a non-supervised system would be UL 1069 certified under the new requirements, they are. It is frustrating that these systems are still being specified and installed in new facilities.

The technology is available and there are many systems out there that can meet and exceed this very important requirement. It is highly recommended that these supervised systems are used in all new construction and remodels. Our SmartCare technology is fully supervised and the cost is very similar to that of a non-supervised option. It is a wise decision for an architect or engineer to specify a product that is supervised.

No one can prevent the occurrence of falls or other dangerous situations, but at least we can be confident that the notification system will work. Since it is fully supervised, you can be sure that the SmartCare Solution is always "Protecting What Matters." Click for more information on the SmartCare Solution.