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Tunstall Healthcare's new nurse call system set to shake up industry
Connected care and health solutions provider Tunstall Healthcare has launched an innovative and revolutionary nurse call system, Tunstall Carecom.
Already supporting over 60,000 residents across Europe, the advanced wireless and digital system moves beyond traditional, fixed call-points to a wireless system. Tunstall Carecom has been developed to meet the demands of modern care delivery and support residential and nursing care homes. The wireless and digital technology enables care to be more efficient and responsive, and allows for straightforward, non-obtrusive installation.
Care home residents are offered a high degree of security and freedom with receivers placed around the building and locatability beacons placed at strategic locations, which interact with smart pendants. These products allow users to raise alarm calls but also offer benefits including location reporting, cancel at source, access control and geofencing.
The system also supports numerous telecare integrations and sensors, including wearable devices and offers automatic alarms, along with early detection of changes in the behaviour of residents and solutions tailored for individual needs.
Working across a number of devices, including mobile phones, carers are able to manage the system from anywhere at any time, securing rapid responses and enabling person-centred care delivery. An intelligent workflow algorithm within the mobile application works to create a more effective care delivery team whilst the customisable reporting platform supports management in making better informed, data-driven decisions.
Gavin Bashar, UK & Ireland Managing Director at Tunstall Healthcare, commented: “As our population ages and pressures increase on over 10,000 residential nursing care homes in the UK, we need to understand the key role technology has to play. Products like Tunstall Carecom, which moves away from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach, offers a modular and customisable solution, enabling nursing care homes and carers to manage challenges and deliver effective, high quality and person-centred care.”
Case study: Park View Nursing Home, Halifax
Park View Nursing Home in Halifax is a 41 bed home offering comprehensive and individualised 24-hour care.
Park View had an 18-year old nurse call system which used wall mounted units in residents’ rooms which would emit loud alarms throughout the building if a resident activated the unit. Several screens in communal areas of the building would then give details of the resident asking for assistance. In addition, the home used telecare sensors such as pressure mats and fall detectors which would raise an alert on a CareAssist pager when triggered.
As the existing nurse call system was coming to the end of its life, the Park View management team began to review options for its renewal, and how any new system could also support the use of telecare. As a result, they looked into the use of Tunstall Carecom, initially solely as a telecare platform alongside a traditional-style nurse call system, but soon realised that Tunstall Carecom could provide a cost-effective, advanced and integrated nurse call and telecare system.
Park View’s Tunstall Carecom system comprises nine mobile phones for staff, three wireless receivers and a property exit system by the main door. Each phone has the Tunstall Carecom app installed. Four phones are allocated to night staff who work from 7.30 pm to 7.30 am. During the day, staff have been divided into two groups, with four carers active on the ground floor and four on the first floor, along with a team leader.
All residents wear a smart pendant on their wrist or around their neck which enables them to call for help from anywhere in the building, rather than only from a room unit as previously, and gives care staff the ability to locate and quickly assist them. Pendants can also be used by staff as a panic alarm if required.
Since its installation, the management at Park View have discovered that the Tunstall Carecom system has numerous advantages over a traditional nurse call system:
Reduced noise levels
The previous system relied on fixed alarm call points throughout the building, which meant that in order to alert staff wherever they were, a loud noise had to be emitted to reach throughout the home 24 hours a day. This impacted negatively on the atmosphere in the home, and also increased anxiety in residents and visitors as they were aware that the alerts indicated some kind of adverse event may be happening. Tunstall Carecom alerts are delivered discreetly to relevant carers’ phones, meaning residents are no longer disturbed, day and night, improving their sleep patterns and quality of life. It also means Park View is a nicer place to work.
Tunstall Carecom means that only relevant staff rather than everyone in the building is alerted to events. This means the right staff can attend quickly and discreetly, increasing the privacy and dignity of residents. Because the name of the resident concerned is visible only on carers’ mobiles, rather than on screens throughout the building, this also supports GDPR compliance.
As Tunstall Carecom operates as an app, staff can easily call each other to communicate on their mobiles. The old system meant staff regularly had to search the building to locate each other if they needed support, such as help with a resident or locating a piece of equipment. The previous system also meant that staff had to visit a fixed room unit or display screen in order to view active alarm calls, rather than being able to view them from wherever they were in the building. Alerts can be cancelled at source from the pendant, avoiding the need for staff to cancel on a fixed wall unit. Because the system operates using mobile phones, if the emergency services are required, staff can call 999 immediately, saving valuable time.
Staff at Park View feel happier at work, due to the reduced noise, ease of communication and more efficient working practices. Tunstall Carecom has also been configured to ensure workload is spread more evenly amongst the staff at Park View. Alarms are issued to carers’ mobiles on dynamically, so if a carer has just received a call, the next alarm will be sent to a different carer. This enables the first carer to finish their task, and also ensures that tasks are fairly distributed amongst the team. If calls are not picked up they will move on to another carer to ensure that all calls are answered. Carers now only receive calls from the residents they are responsible for. Instead of hearing approximately 500 calls in a shift, each staff member now only receives approximately 50.
Better care planning
Managers can access an intuitive, GDPR compliant online data collection and care planning platform. The system can document auditable activities and provide management reporting, freeing staff time and enabling better care planning. The system can be securely accessed from an internet browser anywhere by people with relevant permissions, enabling managers to check on the status of residents and review their support at any time, even away from the care home. Staff mobiles also have the Log my Care app, which enables them to access and record care notes as they work, reducing the need to write up notes at the end of their shift. This saves them time, and means information is more complete and accurate as it is written down immediately, giving more detail on residents to inform care planning.
The old system would also only allow additional equipment to be wired to the room panel, limiting its use, whereas Tunstall Carecom allows a range of wireless sensors to be tailored to the needs of individual residents, for example:
• Bed occupancy sensors can be used to alert staff when residents at risk of falls during the night begin to get out of bed so that they can be helped
• Wrist or neck worn fall detectors can be used by residents at risk of falling during the day
• Universal sensors can be fitted to residents’ doors to raise an alert if they leave their room and may attempt to enter another resident’s room.
Tunstall Carecom has enabled more bespoke and dignified care to be delivered to residents, and supports a least restrictive approach, as the technology helps to manage risks that may otherwise have required residents’ movements to be limited for safety reasons, such as falls. It has created a calmer atmosphere in the home, due to the reduced noise and because staff no longer need to rush around the building to find residents or colleagues. It is supporting better care planning by providing greater insight, and reducing staff turnover by making it a better place to work.
Using technology is becoming increasingly important to meeting the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) five key lines of enquiry (KLOEs) used when inspecting health and social care services, particularly in relation to person-centred care.
By investing in Tunstall Carecom and telecare, Park View is demonstrating its commitment to using technology to work towards delivering outstanding care to its residents, in line with CQC’s strategic priority of encouraging innovation.
In addition to this, the new system has freed staff time to the degree that they can now undertake other duties and has enabled the introduction of a new approach to food and nutrition at Park View. The kitchen has been redesigned to use high-quality pre-prepared meals, which are nutritious and appetising, supplied by an award-winning provider and managed by in-house staff. The meals can be designed to cater for specific dietary requirements, such as malnutrition, diabetes and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), as well as meeting specific cultural or religious needs.
For more information about Carecom, please visit uk.tunstall.com.