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News archive - February 2016

Staying safe on the frontline of mental health services

Staying safe on the frontline of mental health services

Mental health services in England are in the midst of a £120m investment programme designed to reduce waiting times and ensure high levels of care and early intervention within a community support setting.

Safeguarding patients’ wellbeing is paramount but, in a mental health setting, ensuring the facilities also provide a safe work environment for staff is equally important.

It is for that reason that Greater Manchester West Mental Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) has invested in a new nurse call system from Courtney Thorne for three of its community mental healthcare team (CMHT) facilities at Cromwell House, Prescott House and Ramsgate House.

Safety first

All three buildings act as drop-in and assessment centres and include consulting rooms, interview rooms and mental health clinics, many of which involve members of the CMHT working with service users in a confidential space on a one-to-one basis. This means security is paramount.

The trust’s systems manager, Keith Eaton, said: “While incidents are rare; it had become clear that we needed some kind of alarm system to protect both staff and service users should an incident arise.

“We looked specifically for a wireless solution to provide maximum flexibility and reduce the disruption of installation works. Courtney Thorne’s wireless nurse call system had already been proven in a mental health setting, offering both ‘call for attention’ and ‘call for help’ functionality.”

Subtle security

Only one of the three facilities, Cromwell House, had previously had a staff support system to enable members of the team to raise the alarm if their personal safety was threatened or help was required. However, this system was no longer fit for purpose and the decision was taken to replace it with the Courtney Thorne wireless system as part of a consistent approach across all three facilities.

The chosen system uses radio and infrared sensors mounted in all corridors, consulting, clinic and assessment room to detect calls from staff pendants, which raise audio and visual alerts on a number of Courtney Thorne touch-screen units positioned around the building to enable a fast response, regardless of the location of the call.

The fully-programmable system means the call is location-specific and all calls made from a pendant alert the team to both the location and the identity of the user so that help can be on its way as quickly as possible.

John Polhill from Courtney Thorne said: “Our nurse call systems are designed to ensure that staff are equipped to respond to a call as quickly as possible, whether it’s a call for care from a patient or a call for support from a member of staff.

“The wireless functionality of the pendants means the call originator can be instantly identified, no matter where they are in the building and the combination of radio signals used means that users can always be confident of the integrity of the call signal.”

Fast and fuss free

For each of the installations, the Courtney Thorne system was programmed and configured prior to installation so that the units could simply be mounted onto walls quickly and without disruption, causing no interruption to services.

Eaten said: “The system has given the team peace of mind while providing a low-key, discreet solution that does not upset service users.”

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