Case study: Wireless flexibility aids gradual nurse call upgrade

John Polhill of Courtney-Thorne discusses the installation of the company’s C-T 08 wireless nurse call system at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

In this article, John Polhill, national sales manager at Courtney-Thorne, discusses the installation of the company’s C-T 08 wireless nurse call system at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, highlighting the benefits of a wireless approach to nurse call systems in a community hospital setting and the importance of involving nursing staff in specification choices

Wireless nurse call systems enable wireless installation and connectivity, with call logging and prioritisation on a nursing station touch screen. They also offer a flexible, fully re-programmable system that can adapt to a hospital’s changing requirements and can even help with staff and resource planning thanks to accurate, real-time data capture and reporting.

Carrying out a consultation with nursing staff was an important part of the specification process for us because it is essential that the members of staff who will be using the system every day are comfortable with what it

These are all benefits that have influenced Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s decision to adopt wireless technology as part of a rolling programme to address the nurse call requirements of each area of its estate as the incumbent system reaches the end of its service life or needs upgrading. The trust is responsible for the Great Western Hospital in Swindon and seven further community hospitals.

As Peter Scott, head of projects at the trust, says: “The ultimate aim is to homogenise our nurse call systems across our hospitals, but we have designed the move to wireless very much as an asset replacement upgrade delivered on an as-needed basis rather than a complete all-in-one-go switch.

“The flexibility of Courtney-Thorne’s wireless nurse call system facilitates this approach, helping us to manage our capital expenditure while future-proofing any investment because the system can be reprogrammed so easily if we reconfigure a ward or department, with no ‘dirty works’ to wiring.”

Staff consultation.

Having made the decision to begin a phased move to wireless, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust opted to begin the programme at Warminster Community Hospital, which has a 25-bed short stay ward. The trust shortlisted two wireless systems and asked nursing staff to provide feedback on both options before selecting Courtney Thorne’s C-T 08 system.

Scott said: “Carrying out a consultation with nursing staff was an important part of the specification process for us because it is essential that the members of staff who will be using the system every day are comfortable with what it.

“The feedback we had was that the touch-screen nurses’ station unit for the C-T 08 system is intuitive to use and provides a level of detail that enables nurses to prioritise and respond quickly to patients’ needs.”

Tailored solutions

The C-T 08 system installed at Warminster Community Hospital not only includes the touch-screen display in the nurses’ station and all 25 beds in the short stay ward, it has also provided a solution for patient independence.

Patients are encouraged to get out of bed and use the day room facilities, but the previous hard-wired system made it difficult for nursing staff to locate patients when they were not in their allocated bed and to identify any nurse call alerts made from the day room. Courtney Thorne provided wireless nurse call pendants that can be worn or carried by patients so that nurses can identify and locate them, responding more quickly to their needs.

Following the success of the Warminster installation, rollout of the C-T 08 system has now started at Chippenham Community Hospital. The hospital includes two short-stay wards and a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), and it is here that the first wireless units have been installed.

The installation at the MIU involves 40 call points, including treatment bays and toilet areas, along with one touch screen nurses’ station display unit.

Scott said: “Some of the hospitals within our portfolio may only be small, but their requirements are very specific and it’s already clear that the wireless technology installed by Courtney-Thorne gives us the flexibility to tailor the solution to our requirements in any given environment.”

Data advantages

Moving forward, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s move towards wireless nurse call technology will continue as part of an asset replacement programme on a phased basis as and when wards are refurbished.

“It’s evident that the data collected by the C-T 08 system can help with accurate reporting, evidence-based call records and even planning of staffing levels – all without any of the time, disruption, noise or dust associated with changes to the wiring

The areas where the C-T 08 system has been installed to date are already demonstrating the potential benefits of wireless nurse call; not only for patients and nursing staff, but also for the trust’s management.

Scott said: “It’s clear to see how easily wireless technology will help us adapt to changes in patient numbers, services and building layout in the future.

“It’s also evident that the data collected by the C-T 08 system can help with accurate reporting, evidence-based call records and even planning of staffing levels – all without any of the time, disruption, noise or dust associated with changes to the wiring.”

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