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There is a button that can call for help on your behalf when you cannot do so yourself, a button that can make you feel safer when it’s by your side, that can prevent a situation from escalating into a crisis by ensuring prompt a response from a doctor or nurse. But it is not enough for such a button to simply exist; it has to actually be there when you need it. Nurse call system buttons offer a familiar yet critical communication tool between patients and nurses that can help save lives in cases of emergency—when they are there next to the patient. A modern, digital, fully flexible nurse call and communications system, which replaced the hospital’s previous obsolete system, is now operational at Evangelismos General Hospital of Athens, thanks to an exclusive grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

A new digital nurse call system for Evangelismos Hospital in Athens

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The grant for the procurement and installation of the Nurse Call and Communication System at Evangelismos Hospital is part of SNF’s more than $750 million international Health Initiative, which aims to strengthen access to quality health services for all. The new digital system, which offers central control capabilities, has already been installed in 23 independent clinics across the hospital, including the Pathology and Surgery Clinics, as well as the Oncology and Neurology Clinic. Delivery of the equipment began in October 2021 and was completed in October 2022. Due to the high workload Evangelismos faced as a referral hospital for COVID-19, the equipment was installed in stages as inpatient areas were made available for the upgrade by the hospital.

The Director of the Nursing Service at Evangelismos Hospital, Dimitrios Pistolas, describes the importance of the grant: “Our hospital had an outdated and non-operational nurse call system, which did not meet any of the needs of the patients or the nursing staff. The new nurse call system installed in our hospital following the grant from SNF is ideally set up for the smooth provision of services and care to patients. It significantly reduces the response time of nursing staff and dramatically improves not only patient satisfaction, but also the quality of nursing care provided.”

SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos said, “Evangelismos General Hospital of Athens holds special significance for us, given that it was a grant request from the hospital five years ago that prompted us to launch our international Health Initiative. This effort, which aims to upgrade the quality of and access to the public health system, not only in Greece but in other countries around the world, has now come to constitute our largest initiative since our founding, not only in amount but also in scope. We hope that this grant for the procurement of a state-of-the-art new nurse call system at Evangelismos Hospital will help significantly improve hospital conditions and therapeutic outcomes for patients, as well as working conditions for the people on the front lines of providing medical care, to whom we are all deeply grateful.”

The installation of the nurse call system is the third grant SNF has made to Evangelismos General Hospital of Athens. The first covered the procurement of more than 850 new beds, 53 of which were placed in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs), the High-Dependency Units (HDUs), and the Stroke Unit. It also included the procurement of 150 pieces of medical equipment to upgrade the services of more than 10 departments at the Hospital, including the ICUs, the HDUs, the Stroke Unit, the Emergency Department, the Artificial Kidney Unit, and the Operating Rooms. The second grant, made as part of SNF’s global relief initiative for the COVID-19 pandemic, went toward renovations to add capacity for additional ICU and HDU beds. Another ongoing SNF grant underway as part of the Health Initiative supports the implementation of educational programs at the Hospital’s Nursing Schools, in collaboration with the Thorax Foundation, and an additional grant, in collaboration with the Athanasios and Marina Martinou Foundation and Aliki Perroti, will strengthen ICU 2 and the Old Stroke Unit, which will function as a single ICU, as well as the Emergency Department at Evangelismos.

SNF’s International Health Initiative includes the design, construction, and outfitting of three state-of-the-art hospitals in Komotini, Thessaloniki, and Sparta; infrastructure projects at hospitals in Attica; the procurement of specialized equipment for public hospitals across Greece; the supply of two airplanes and two helicopters for the National Center for Emergency Care’s (EKAV) air ambulance services; educational programs for doctors and nurses; and a five-year program to strengthen mental health care services for children and adolescents in collaboration with the U.S.-based Child Mind Ιnstitute. It also includes international partnerships with hospitals, research centers, and academic institutions including The Rockefeller University, Columbia University, and the Child Mind Institute to support the establishment of new hubs that will work to expand access to health care resources across boundaries and borders.