Personal Safety First

Rachel Blackburn, Head of Care Homes at Millenium Care, talks to Tomorrow’s Care about how Pinpoint’s Staff Alarm System kept staff safe when dealing with residents with challenging behaviour.

Millennium Care’s facility in North Yorkshire is a high-quality, specialised care home for people with learning difficulties and complex needs. Many of the residents have a common trait: due to the conditions they present with, they are prone to exhibiting very challenging behaviour, which can expose staff to assault from (usually unintentional) outbursts of violent activity.

It is therefore of paramount importance that staff can covertly summon help immediately when they need to de-escalate a situation before it has the chance to become violent.

On a second level, staff also need to summon a ‘crash-team’ should a non-emergency situation arise either due to a threat to the staff member or other residents, or indeed if a patient health emergency arises. For both of these situations to work reliably, the alarm needs to be raised from a device worn on the person because oſten the ‘threat’ could physically be in- between the staff member and a wall-mounted call button.

Rachel Blackburn, Head of Care Homes for Millennium Care, said: “We learned the hard way that not all personal safety alarm systems are adequate. In 2013, when we opened our Sunnyborough facility, we installed a system from a

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manufacturer I won’t name, but it proved to be absolutely awful. Staff would pull the alarm but sometimes nothing happened. The consequences were dreadful because, as a result of help not arriving, it would lead to our staff getting assaulted.

“We worked with the manufacturers for nearly three years as they tried and tried to make it work properly. But they just couldn’t do it.” When you have a relatively new system installed, it is a difficult decision to make to rip it out and replace it.

“But the safety of our staff and residents is paramount, so we realised we had to bite the bullet and scrap the system. We simply could not continue to have our staff and residents in danger. Our MD had seen the Pinpoint system in action previously, so we investigated it and found nothing but positive experiences reported by its many users.”

As background, Rachel explained that the care home’s mix of residents includes adults throughout the spectrum from older to younger. Their conditions range from autism and learning

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