life enhancing solutions

Case Study: Remote & Rapid Installation of Wireless Nurse Call Systems

Remote installation of a wireless Nursecall system by the Council of a rural Scottish island community & Possum Ltd, May 2020


As we all adjust to the new normal in this strange and difficult time, we are trying to think of ways to support our clients and partners to ensure that the people who need Possum products and services are able to access these in a safe way. Here is an example of how we installed a wireless Nurse Call system into a rural Scottish community remotely due to COVID restrictions.


We had worked with the Council to install a wireless Nurse Call system for a care home in 2019. However this year, when the Council got in touch with us, we had a whole host of new challenges to face.


With the outbreak of the global Coronavirus crisis, the Council had to react quickly to ensure there was enough capacity to provide care to everyone that would need it. The challenge here was to meet social care needs, to ensure there were enough social care residential beds for people who were well enough to leave hospital but not quite ready to live independently at home. This meant the Council had to take over a building that was not used to provide care and quickly adapt it into a facility that could accommodate people leaving hospital.


The building that was to be taken over was a halls of residence. As this was not a medical site it had no Nurse Call systems installed which meant residents would be unable to call for help. Our wireless Nurse Call system was selected to be installed to help turn the building into an appropriate care facility where residents could easily call for help. The system could be deployed at pace which was perfect as the Council were operating within tight timelines. The benefits of a wireless system mean a quicker and significantly easier installation process, versus a traditional wired system. As this building was being turned into a care facility for the short or medium term, and would be likely turned back into a halls of residence in the future, the wireless system was perfect as it could also be easily uninstalled allowing the building to return to its previous use. The kit could then be reinstalled at another site, driving cost efficiencies.


As the installation process was to take place during lockdown, the Government guidelines with regard to the social distancing had to be followed strictly, which added a layer of complexity onto the installation process.


Normally a Possum engineer would install the kit on site, however due to the lockdown restrictions, the engineer was not able to attend in person. This meant we had to think how we could ensure the kit could be safety and successfully installed whilst adhering to the lockdown guidelines.
The solution was that the kit would be sent from our office in Aylesbury up to where Jon Graham, Technical Manager for Scotland lives. He would pre-program all the kit from his home, working closely with the Council to ensure the kit met their exact requirements.


Possum carry a lot of stock which was a key factor that helped to complete this set up so quickly. On the same day the order came in, the kit was despatched by Mike Byrnes, Purchasing Manager at Possum. Whilst the vast majority of staff at Possum are now fully home based, there is a small dedicated team of people in Stores, Test & Despatch still coming into the premises to provide essential services like despatching goods to the NHS, while maintaining social distancing and adhering strictly to Government guidelines. The work of this team meant the kit was able to quickly get to Jon in Scotland where it was programmed and couriered across to the island ready for installation by a local electrical engineer.


Kieran McCausland, National Sales Manager – Assisted Living at Possum comments ‘we really had to think outside the box on this one. We faced so many additional challenges due to the pandemic including not being able to send one of our own engineers to install the system, so we had to come up with another way of getting the kit to the location safely. In essence, the logistics issues we faced forced our hands to come up with a new way of working. We knew the Council knew some very skilled electrical contractors on site, so we thought if they could appoint someone to install the system their end, we could pre-program the kit and get it to them in very tight timescales. Jon set up the kit at home and worked with the Council to perfect the finer details like programming the specific room numbers on voice and video calls. I herald this as a fantastic example of synergy between all departments at Possum and our client. Everyone chipped in with their part to play and the result was a successful installation ahead of schedule in exceptionally challenging times.’


The Executive Manager at Community Care Resources for the Council adds ‘we purchased a wireless call system for a care home in 2019. Additional functionality was required to enable a neighbouring facility to access the call system during the night. Following a face to face meeting the specification was developed and the system was installed and technical training was provided to the Council’s handymen based within the home with additional support available remotely following installation. Concurrent with the introduction of social distancing measures on 13th March 2020 the Council’s emergency Planning Forum initiated a plan to address specific aspects of our response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Part of this plan required the development of a new, temporary residential care facility and the halls of residence was identified as the most appropriate venue. Following initial discussions with Possum it was agreed that Council staff would have the skills to install a 30 bedded wireless call system with door sensors, pressure mats and pendants. Floor plans which identified the rooms to be used and the staff area were provided together with further specification following a detailed site visit. The order resulted in the facility being ready for admissions ahead of schedule.’

Stuart Baillie, Product Specialist – Telecare – Scotland, Cumbria & Northumberland at Possum comments ‘it was great that I already had a strong relationship with the client and I know the area well from other projects I have delivered over the years, this really helped at every stage of the process. Due to the pandemic, transport was heavily disrupted, and there was no hotel accommodation available. Together, the Council and Possum had a discussion to see how we could work around these challenges together, we talked about the possibility of pre-programming the kit and sending it up, we knew this would be feasible as we know the skilled staff at the Council that would be more than capable of carrying out the installation. This is a great system as it can be moved and re-used at other sites in the locality and in the future so that drives cost efficiencies’.


Jon Graham, Technical Manager for Scotland comments ‘I also have done a lot of work with the client here before installing systems at various sites over the years. This project was a unique way of working, I programmed and put together as much of the kit as possible to make things easier on the Council staff that would be fitting it for us. To further facilitate this, I created extra easy to follow fitting guides for them tailored specifically for this site. I had lots of dialogue with our client during the time of programming the equipment, who was fantastic at supplying the info I needed to make sure I could set this up as accurately as I could, including room numbers, repeater locations, staff areas, equipment set up properties etc. I knew I had done other installations at other sites in relative close proximity to this one, so I created a tool during this to make sure all the radio codes used in this installation weren’t already being used at other nearby sites to ensure no radio crosstalk between sites. As said, this installation has come about due to the horrible situation we have with the pandemic, but this equipment doesn’t need to go to waste, rather it can be re-purposed, re-programmed and utilised at other sites once the pandemic is over.’.