Preventing Violence Toward Healthcare Workers: A Case Study

In 2021, 14.3% of NHS staff reported at least one physical attack from a patient, and those in mental health trusts experienced the highest rates of abuse. As staff shortages, delays and strikes go on into 2023, this figure is only likely to increase.
Pinpoint’s advanced staff safety systems are designed to combat violence against healthcare workers through fast-acting alarms that alert a response team to the exact location of a call. Doing so prevents aggressive behaviour from escalating and limits harm to staff.
Smallwood Manor
Smallwood Manor, an independent tier 4 CAMHS hospital in North Staffordshire, recently installed Pinpoint’s System as a safety measure to protect both staff and patients on site.
A therapeutic environment for young people experiencing mental health disorders, Smallwood Manor sought out the highest-grade security systems for the facility ahead of its opening.   
Staff working in mental health facilities are often exposed to violence from patients, with studies suggesting 76% of residents in inpatient care display abusive behaviour. This is partially due to the complex nature of mental health illnesses, which can result in patients becoming distressed and behaving aggressively.
To prevent such attacks on staff, healthcare workers must know how to recognise potential warning signs and call for assistance immediately to de-escalate the situation and provide the necessary support.
Equally, should a patient become distressed and in need of urgent attention, supervising staff must be able to summon help without having to leave the scene or cause additional stress by shouting out.
Easy-to-use, accessible and efficient safety systems are fundamental to protecting both staff and service users from harm. Before its opening, Smallwood Manor brought in Pinpoint to install the highest quality security systems that would alert staff to potential issues on the ward without undue noise and disruption.
The Solution
Personal Infrared Transmitters (PITs), which act as personal safety alarms, were given to all employees to activate in case of an incident.
Pinpoint’s PITs have two call levels, Assistance and Emergency, which correlate to the severity of the situation in question. For example, if a resident displays signs of hostility, the staff member presses a small button on the back of an identity badge holder, in which the device is concealed, to alert the need for assistance. However, should a service user become verbally abusive, the employee presses another button on the back of the ID badge holder to signal emergency support.
By activating the alarm, infrared signals are transmitted to the Advanced Receiver Units installed within the hospital, alerting a response team to the exact location and type of the call in under 85 milliseconds. Over Door Lights illuminate to show the room where support is required to further assist responders and eliminate the risk of human error. This rapid process reduces the risk of violent behaviour from escalating and thereby limiting harm to staff.
Every member of the team in Smallwood Manor was given comprehensive training on how to use their Pinpoint’s System and the protocol in place for responding to incidents. This was all carried out prior to the hospital opening to ensure staff were confident and competent in using the system in case an incident were to occur.
The Results
Installing a Pinpoint staff safety system throughout Smallwood Manor maximised staff and patient safety by significantly reducing the threat of abuse. As a result, staff were reassured of their wellbeing and could focus on delivering the highest quality of care, thereby improving patient treatment outcomes.
By offering thorough training ahead of the hospital opening employees felt confident in how to use the system appropriately and could teach future bank staff to do the same. 
Lee Smith, the head of Cove Healthcare and Smallwood Manor said of the system:
“I’ve worked with all manner of safety systems, but none of them come anywhere near Pinpoint. It gives staff confidence. These types of environments can be quite stressful, and people need the confidence that they are safe at work in order to do the best job.
“Taking measures to improve staff safety in mental health facilities not only improves the morale of the workforce and job satisfaction but also enhances the experience of service users. Prioritising the wellbeing of workers is therefore critical to the effective running of our healthcare system.”