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Legacy nurse call system upgrades in ‘live’ environment at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester

SSG has completed a nurse call system upgrade of three wards at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex. The district general hospital provides a full range of general acute services, including A&E, maternity, outpatients, day surgery and intensive care. St Richard’s Hospital is operated by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

SSG was initially awarded the contract to replace only one of the hospital’s aging Codem2 nurse call systems, however on evaluation of the hospital estate and the age of systems installed, the Trust decided to extend the contract to cover the nurse call system upgrade of two further wards in order to deliver more dependable patient-to-nurse communication, and reduce the Trust’s exposure to risk.

Works began in January 2020 but when the first COVID-19 lockdown came into force in mid-March, SSG’s access to the site was restricted which meant an unforeseeable delay of two months to the project.

Once allowed back on site - and in order to deliver project completion in the shortest possible time - upgrade of all three systems took place concurrently. Most of the work was undertaken during normal working hours, with some evening and weekend work taking place as required.

A temporary wireless nurse call system was put in place while installation of the new systems was in progress; allowing work to be undertaken within a ‘live’ hospital environment, with minimum disruption to patients and staff. Following completion of the upgrade works in late May 2020, the temporary systems were removed and handed over to the Trust for future use.

SSG engineers stripped the legacy Codem2 nurse call systems out of the hospital’s Bosham, Wittering and Ashling Wards and replaced them with like-for-like equipment from the company’s Codemlon™ range. Codemlon™, SSG’s addressable loop wired nurse call solution, is designed to support improved patient safety and well-being, and to provide an extensive range of advanced healthcare communication solutions to assist front-line staff.

All of the wards’ legacy nurse call equipment – including the wiring and handsets – was replaced. The patient mini hand units supplied as part of the upgrades contain the Biomaster silver-based antimicrobial agent which is incorporated during the manufacturing process to help further strengthen the infection control measures instigated by the hospital. Most of the hand units supplied incorporate lighting control.

The existing wall-mounted nurse call panels were replaced, after de-commissioning, with blanking panels and separate bedlight bracket panels. Alongside, new Modus Vertical trunking with integrated nurse call facilities, was provided. Modus Vertical trunking has been designed with build efficiency and ease of installation in mind, making it an ideal solution for 'fast-track' refurbishment projects such as the upgrades at St Richard’s Hospital.

The wards’ existing System 220 horizontal trunking - also originally provided by SSG - was retained, with new Codemlon™ compatible nurse call bedhead plates manufactured and fitted.

“This project is the latest in a number of nurse call upgrades we have undertaken on behalf of the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Despite the first COVID-19 national lockdown causing delays to the works, once our engineers had access to the site, the installation process went very smoothly. And, to reduce the length of time our engineers spent on site, we carried out the work on all three wards concurrently,” comments Chris Meilak, SSG’s Project Manager on the St Richard’s Hospital upgrade.

“SSG specialises in undertaking ‘live’ engineering works in healthcare environments – it’s something that we have extensive experience of and we are proud to be able to deliver this for our clients as it minimises disruption to the nursing staff and patients; allowing work to take place which would otherwise be very difficult to undertake. On this particular project we provided a temporary wireless nurse call system to cover the wards for the duration of the upgrade works. This meant there was no requirement to close the wards during the installation of the new systems.”

SSG was tasked with the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the new nurse call systems.

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