St Oswald’s Hospice, situated three miles outside of Newcastle City Centre, cares for over 2,000 patients, visitors and relatives. They provide dignified care and compassionate support for patients living with a terminal illness.
The hospice opened in 1986 with only 10 beds and the facility has since gown to include; a 15 bed In-Patient unit with additional units for Lymphoedema, Children and Young Adults. As well as offering an array of other services in the specialised Day Unit.
In 2015, during a particularly heavy storm, a lightning strike unexpectedly hit the Newcastle upon Tyne facility causing unavoidable failure to all of the electrics and the Nurse Call system.
Aid Call service engineers attended the Newcastle upon Tyne facility after it was struck by lightning to discover that its Nurse Call system was irreparable. They immediately installed temporary measures to ensure the safety of patients and staff on a short term basis, and once the property could be fully surveyed, the new Touchsafe Pro system was permanently installed in the In-Patient Unit.
Val Forster, the In-Patient Unit Manager at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “I’ve been here for 22 years and during that time we’ve always worked with Aid Call, I believe this is the third generation of system we have had now and they’ve all been very functional and fit for purpose.”
“However in 2015 we had a lightning strike and our system was completely wiped out, which was a blessing in disguise when I think back now because it allowed us to have the new system installed. Aid Call came to the rescue when the incident first occurred and put temporary measures in place to allow us to continue to support patients while we researched a new system.”
St Oswald’s Hospice had the new Aid Call Touchsafe Pro system installed in the Newcastle upon Tyne facility in 2016.
Val commented: “The main thing I remember about the Aid Call system that we initially had was that it was very loud and the ward always felt noisy, which could be quite disruptive for patients. It didn’t create the atmosphere that we really wanted for the unit and when patients are very poorly, noise pollution can be a significant issue.”
“The installation of the new system has made a massive difference; our nurses now use the Bluebell Pagers which are small and very easy to clean. They can also be logged in to by each individual member of staff which is great for indentifying where they are on the ward by checking the system. However the main benefit is that the pagers can be programmed to vibrate or quietly bleep, which the nurses love. It ensures there are no noisy alarms across the unit and makes it easier to identify priority calls. The pagers automatically make noise if an emergency alarm call is activated so that everyone including the doctors and physiotherapists can respond accordingly.”
Jane Hamblin, Facilities Manager at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “I’ve been with the hospice for just over 17 years now and we’ve grown massively in that time. Aid Call has been a very big part of that journey because they have done such a lot of research and development that’s really brought this new system into the 21st century.”
“With it being a new system there is always going to be teething problems and Aid Call has been very responsive to any of the queries or requests we have had, which have mostly been in regards to the software.”
Following the success of the Touchsafe Pro in the In-Patient Unit at St Oswald’s Hospice, the Newcastle upon Tyne facility is now looking to expand the system into its other units.
Jane added: “Since the system was installed it has been very easy to add to its functionalities with various telecare equipment including fall detectors, which are extremely easy to program and are working very well for our patients and staff.”
“We will now continue to work with Aid Call going forward to integrate the new system that’s currently installed in the In-Patient unit into our Day Services Unit, Lymphoedema and Children and Young Adult Units.”