Healthcare Hospitality Case Study

Brookdale Senior Living - 47 States Nationwide

DuraFon Series - Addressing Life Safety Issues & Ensuring a Rapid Response
Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. is the leading operator of senior living communities throughout the United States with approximately 1,121 retirement facilities in 47 states and the ability to serve nearly 103,000 residents. Brookdale’s 82,000+ associates provide a wide variety of care services in independent and assisted living, and dementia-care communities and continuing care retirement centers.

Among the various facilities that Brookdale operates across the country are the Sterling House communities, which provide care and personalized assisted living options for seniors. Each Sterling House is an intimate, single‐story building that houses private apartments in a home‐like community setting. The House incorporates areas for socializing, dining and entertaining and provides easy access to individuals with limited mobility.

The Need: Wireless Phones Increase Efficiency, Enable Immediate Response to Resident Needs

Serving the needs of the elderly in an assisted living environment requires prompt, reliable communication between community residents and the staff. According to Michael White, Telecommunications Specialist at Brookdale Senior Living, communication is critical because a response to medical emergencies must happen within seconds, not minutes.

White explained that the need for reliability and coverage from the Avaya Trans Talk wireless phones were not adequate to support the communication requirements of the Sterling House operations. “In addition to being 11‐ to 14‐year‐old technology, the phones were just not reliable, and the coverage area wasn’t very good.” According to White, other Brookdale communities were using whatever proprietary phones they had, sometimes even using landlines to forward calls to staff’s cellphones. “We decided we needed to make a change.”

“Staff now relies so much on the EnGenius phones as a life safety issue, they have become a necessity in the communities.”

Michael White

Telecommunications Specialist, Brookdale Senior Living

The Solution: EnGenius DuraFon Delivers a Combination of Performance, Range & Affordability

White’s search for a new wireless phone system started with a call to his reseller. The competitive analysis of potential phone systems included solutions from Spectralink, whose cost proved to be too high, and Motorola, which didn’t provide the coverage area required.

“The Sterling Houses are equipped with pull cords that enable the residents to ring the phone system to get in immediate contact with our staff,” explained White. “The use of wireless phones in our facilities is critical because they free our staff from having to sit at a desk to answer the phone. Staff efficiency is increased significantly, and their response times are decreased by their ability to be mobile.”

“If our communities need a good solid cordless phone, we deploy the EnGenius DuraFon 1X. And if they need multiple phones, we install the EnGenius DuraFon PRO,” White said. “We have the EnGenius phones connected to our Avaya phone systems so while the caretakers are out walking the floor or somewhere else on the property, they actually take the calls from our residents. With the EnGenius phones, caretakers can now establish an immediate two‐way communication with the resident when an issue arises.”

The Results: Stronger Coverage and Walkie‐Talkie Feature Increase Safety for Residents

The performance and features of the EnGenius DuraFon products have made the system the standard wireless phone solution in the Brookdale Living properties nationwide.

According to White, the DuraFon wireless phones have solved their issue of inadequate coverage. “The one thing we don’t hear complaints about is coverage. The phone works great and no matter where our staff members are on the community grounds, they’re able to take and make phone calls.”

“The ability to use the DuraFon as a walkie‐talkie is a nice added feature for our staff because whenever an emergency arises, they simply press one button and there are three other people who can provide immediate assistance,” White stated.

In addition to being feature‐rich and easy‐to‐use, White explained that the EnGenius DuraFons have become critical to operations at the Brookdale properties. “Cordless phones used to be a convenience when we had the Trans Talk phones, but because the staff now relies so much on the EnGenius phones as a life safety issue, they have become a necessity in the communities.”

Learn for yourself why assisted living leaders choose DuraFon.

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