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Staff and service-user protection


install and maintain. Today, ‘99.9 per cent’ of mental healthcare units incorporate a nurse call system for their users. We manufacture both specialised and standard nurse call systems along with our staff attack alert systems. Our specialised call systems are extensively used by mental healthcare units because of their anti- ligature and durability requirements.”


HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS John Ridpath went on to explain the basic operation of a Guardian staff attack alert system: “Staff using one of our systems will each carry a trigger, similar to a car’s remote control key fob.” Guardian staff attack alert systems generally incorporate two distinct buttons – one for ‘Assistance’ and the other, which the user pulls out from the unit’s base, signifying that they or a service-user are under attack. John Ridpath added: “The device stays with the user all the time, no matter where they are. The staff location element harnesses high frequency infrared (HF IR) technology via ceiling-mounted sensors, but with radio back-up. Thus, should the HF IR sensor fail to activate an alarm, the radio back-up kicks in three seconds later. Each trigger can be programmed to offer several different options. Most people use the pull function for a ‘staff attack’, and the push button for ‘assistance’. However, other clients who want the alert to communicate with call centres/police often have it programmed with a ‘double knock feature’ – one of the reasons the probation service and banks have standardised on our triggers for many years now. These days, many


staff in mental healthcare facilities carry a trigger, but so too do patients and service-users, both in mental health and other healthcare settings. We manufacture a different-coloured trigger for patient use, which utilises the same ceiling receivers, but only activates the nurse call system. For example, take an elderly person sitting by the window in a care home, and with a ‘traditional’ nurse call system, the call button may be a few metres away on the bed. If the same lady carries a trigger, she can summon assistance from anywhere in the room or another location.”


LITHIUM BATTERY-POWERED TRIGGERS Guardian’s portable ‘triggers’ are powered by disposable lithium batteries. “We do keep an eye on rechargeable battery technology,” John Ridpath explained, “but, having talked to our customers, have generally found that standard batteries are better suited to our types of sites. We discovered one PITT (Potentiostatic Intermittent Titration Technique) battery that is rechargeable in 30 seconds, but apparently the charge only lasts a few seconds once activated, and must then be re-charged. Conversely, with conventional rechargeable batteries that take many hours to fully charge, you need double the amount of triggers to cover day and night shifts.”


The Guardian Staff Safety Systems triggers automatically alert both system and user when the charge level gets low. John Ridpath added: “We also encourage all users to test their trigger before they go on duty each day. Battery life is


typically anything from 6-12 months.” In the event of a staff /service-user attack incident, as soon as the user pulls out the ‘attack’ trigger, the system receives a signal, but the means of alert is user-configurable. John Ridpath elaborated: “Depending on the mental healthcare setting, you might, for example, only want silent visual alerts via pagers, PCs, or the main display panels. Some users like lots of volume, but generally in mental healthcare environments staff want their system to operate discreetly so as not to distress or panic the patients. In addition to the main display panel at the nurses’ station, which shows and logs all alerts, we can supply scrolling displays. For instance, at one major facility run by the largest health board in the UK, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, every corridor features such wall-mounted displays. The Trust, however, didn’t want the word ‘Attack’ appearing, so they instead use the word ‘Incident’. These corridor displays provide the precise location of the incident, i.e. room 3, corridor 2, building 16. It is becoming more commonplace to have corridor displays, because staff can see any messages up to 30 metres away.”


NOT WANTING TO CARRY TOO MUCH John Ridpath continued: “Security staff will usually carry a bunch of keys, and may not wish to also carry a pager and a mobile device. Our staff safety systems can interface with pagers from most manufacturers, so staff are immediately alerted to the type of incident and its location, and the nearest appropriate


The Only Privacy Vision Panel


with a Lifetime Warranty Come see us on Stand 308 at the Design in Mental Health Exhibition at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, on 15-16th May 2018.


of NHS hospitals in the UK. t: 0208 500 2200 e: sales@vistamatic.com


Installed in over 90% www.vistamatic.com THE NETWORK APRIL 2018 37


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