Published 23.02.19

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An eye on safety

This article appeared in the Autumn Issue #13 - Click here to download full magazine

We discover how embracing new technology is benefitting our homes, by helping residents feel safer and offering staff real time assistance and support.

We’re always looking for ways to improve the way we do things, here at Wellburn. Resting on our laurels is never an option. As with our full activities programme, we’re increasingly looking into how new technologies can help our company as a whole.

Our latest initiative has taken us into the world of safety monitoring systems, (more commonly known as CCTV). After embarking on a thorough consultation process, which included residents and their families, we’ve installed a safety monitoring system in one of our homes, Glenholme House, in Sunderland.

The consultation also involved all members of staff at Glenholme House, who along with our residents, unanimously gave their consent. The benefits were clear to us from the get go, but post installation, the effects have superseded even our most optimistic hopes.

Installing safety monitoring systems in care homes is in itself, highly topical. Recent campaigns to push for the technology to be made compulsory in all care homes is ongoing. A campaign that we continue to support, and at some point we feel is perhaps inevitable.

But we wanted to take the lead, with Glenholme House being one of the first care homes in the North East to embrace and install a system.

“I wanted to make sure our system offered real tangible benefits to our residents and staff on a daily basis.”

Our Executive Chairman, Rachel Beckett explains, “The subject of safety monitoring systems is on the table for a number of reasons. Of course anything that can help safeguard those who are no longer able to safeguard themselves, can only be a good thing. But from our own perspective, the fundamental reasons behind our decision to install was more than us just saying we have nothing to hide. That in itself wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to make sure our system not only offered improved safeguarding measures, but real tangible benefits to our residents and staff on a daily basis.”

The proof was always going to be in the pudding, and since installation, the benefits have been there for all to see. Early indications are that the initiative has been an overwhelming success. Feedback from residents and their families has been extremely positive, reporting that the system provides a much welcomed extra layer of comfort to them. Which in turn has made them feel even more safe and secure.

Although it’s too early to draw conclusions specific to Glenholme House, all the research has shown us that it also offers real tangible benefits too. For example, it can improve residents sleep patterns, due to the reduction of previously necessary night checks, with staff now able to monitor through the system, rather than waking residents. It’s also proven that better sleeping patterns result in residents feeling more alert during the day, which in turn leads to a reduction in the risk of falls, and encourages better eating habits. Which when all combined, studies show that this leads to the significantly improved general health and wellbeing of residents.

Staff are also feeling the benefits too. The system doesn’t replace care, but rather offers staff members real time assistance and support. Offering faster response time to any incidents, and helps staff check to establish exactly how they might have happened, allowing if needed, any preventative measure being put in place.

The signs are good though. So much so, we’re looking into rolling the initiative out across more of our homes. Our hope now, is that more care homes follow our lead. For the benefit of all.