"Installation of a Pinpoint System has been instrumental in helping solve staff safety issues at Millennium Care."
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 often the ‘threat’ could physically be in-between the staff member and a wall-mounted call button.
Said Rachel Blackburn, Head of Care Homes for Millennium Care: ”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 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 difficulties through to very complex needs and extremely challenging backgrounds. Sunnyborough accommodates 19 residents at any one time; and the level of behavioural difficulty demands staffing on a one-to-one basis.
Sunnyborough prides itself on providing a highly supportive environment for its residents; including making available a wide range of activities such as a music group, cookery, drama, football, bowling, information technology, rugby, swimming and even first-aid.
“Our aim is to provide a very stimulating fulfilling life for our residents,” Rachel stated. “These activities allow them to access high levels of functioning, and they provide meaningful occupation, which we find reduces the need for people to become challenging.”
She went on to explain that the new Pinpoint Staff Personal Safety System was installed with no fuss - including a modification to the requirement part-way through the installation to accommodate a new extension to the building.
Asked how the Pinpoint system has worked for Millennium Care since its installation in 2015, Rachel said. ”The Pinpoint System has worked really well. Unlike the previous system, we’ve never had a single instance when it hasn’t raised the alarm. Absolutely no hiccups! Our staff finally feel perfectly safe - they know that their body-worn PIT (Personal Infrared Transmitter) will summon help immediately every time.”
This is in an environment where residents with challenging behaviour probably generate five incidents per week when members of staff need to use their PIT to summon urgent assistance, Rachel noted: “Thankfully, due to the reliability and speed of action of the Pinpoint System, most of those incidents now only require ‘help to de-escalate’ alarms.
“True emergency calls are much more infrequent now, but when those do happen, Pinpoint raises the alarm with a combination of audible alarms, graphic displays in strategic locations plus flashing over door lights in the corridor outside the room containing the emergency. All of which combine to ensure the crash-team is guided to the correct room within seconds. This results in less danger to our staff, less danger for our other residents and in fact, because situations can be defused much more quickly, far less likelihood of the other residents themselves becoming disturbed.”
Would Rachel recommend the Pinpoint System to other care providers? “Absolutely! We wish we’d had Pinpoint from the outset at Sunnyborough and we are now intending to deploy it at two new homes we are currently planning."
“Provided that Pinpoint gives us a good price again!” she quipped.
Obviously, the Personal Safety System is only one element in delivering Millennium Care’s mission of supporting these challenged residents. But, by ensuring a safe environment for both staff and residents, it allows everybody to concentrate on the job in hand; namely rehabilitating the residents to be able to live better lives and, for many, to reduce their challenging behaviours to enable them to graduate from needing 24x7 one-on-one care into less costly semi-independent supported living environments.
“I would sum-up the Pinpoint Personal Safety System as: Effective, safe and reliable,” Rachel concluded. “And the Pinpoint company as highly supportive, helpful and very knowledgeable of our operational needs.”