Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust has installed Crable’s phone charging shelves in locations all around their busy QE Hospital. Why? To ensure that staff, patients and visitors are able to:
· stay connected
· access essential functionality within their phones
· not waste time (and money) searching for charging facilities
Invaluable collaborative assistance and support was provided by Academic Health Science Network North East & North Cumbria.
Established in 2005, Gateshead Health NHS FT was one of the first foundation trusts in the country and provides a range of acute and community services to a population of approximately half a million people. The QE Gateshead has almost 500 beds and the trust employs around 5,000 staff in total.
The Problem, Consequences & Hesitations
In any hospital building people are reliant on using their mobile phones. Low battery levels and the inability to keep in contact with loved ones and colleagues as well as accessing essential data can create anxiety known as Nomophobia, the fear of being without a mobile phone or without access to a mobile phone.
Staff were wasting time (and thus money) searching for suitable cables for themselves as well as for patients and visitors.
At great cost to all NHS trusts, cables are frequently misplaced and currently there are multiple versions required to charge phones from different manufacturers.
Hazards, in the form of trip and fire, were being created when people utilised third party cables in unsuitable locations.
Wireless charging of mobile phones is a relatively recent technology that eliminates the use of cables. Phones are simply placed on the Crable charging shelf which has two ‘fast charge’ wireless charging pads.
In general, people will not leave their phone unattended and so security has not been a concern.
By installing Crable charging shelves in all hospital areas, people were able to easily access charging functionality without disrupting staff time. Wireless chargers provide charge to phones that have wireless ‘receivers’ inbuilt (almost all from 2019 onwards) and for those people with older phones, they were able to utilise USB ports and plug sockets located in the underside of the Crable charging shelves.
Gateshead Health were advised to install all Crables at a height of 1.1m from the floor. At this level, the trust was able to meet DDA compliance and ensure that younger visitors were also able to utilise the charging stations.
The Results & Benefits
As a company, Crable sits firmly in the Non-Data Capture environment. It believes that people’s personal data is all too frequently taken without consent and misused when taken for financial gain. In sectors such as healthcare, it is imperative that all stakeholders are able to make use of services without fear of unwilling data capture.
The considerable variety of locations within the QE Gateshead where Crables are installed meant that it was easy to visually monitor usage. Waiting areas such as Accident and Emergency saw substantial volumes of people benefiting from a top-up to their phone batteries. The extremely busy nurses’ stations on each ward similarly have constant usage of all eight charging pads/ports within a Crable shelf.
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust conducted their own research into benefits by speaking with staff and visitors to ascertain their opinions. All those interviewed stated the installation of charging shelves was a significant step forward for the trust and even encouraged the trust to install Crables in locations previously not considered. Staff praised the Crable technology and said the units were “constantly in use.”
Unlike most other commercial phone charging solutions, Crables are free at the point of use. Therefore, staff, patients and visitors do not have to worry about paying to keep their critical appliances charged up while in the hospital.
Crable charging shelves have been designed to be sterilised with the strongest of commercial cleaning products. This mitigates concern over bacterial build-ups, limits infectious hazards and reduces the risk of cross contamination.
Conor O’Neill, Innovation Manager at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, stated that the Crable charging shelves delivered a tangible improvement to both the staff and patient experience: “We are proud to be the first UK trust to deploy this innovative charging solution that allows patients and families to charge their phones for free.
We’ve received excellent feedback from staff, patients and their families as it means that by taking away the worry of running out of battery power, patients can stay connected with friends and family during their stay at the hospital.”
Crable charging shelves are robust and designed to thrive in the most challenging of environments. Gateshead Health will be able to provide staff, patients and visitors with a free charge for years to come.
All NHS Trusts are being encouraged by Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust to consider following their example and to install free charging stations in hospitals all over the UK.