The Role of Technology in Mental Health Trusts "Zero Suicide" Strategy
Earlier this month, the Mersey Care NHS Trust launched its new "Zero Suicide" strategy, in line with a national call early this year to target a Zero Suicide rate across the NHS. The strategy will attempt to reduce suicide rates of Mersey Care patients in its care over the next eighteen months, and ultimately to eradicate them completely by 2020.
As one of the early adopters of the strategy, what can Mersey Care's service, and others like it, do to help achieve this target?
Oxehealth has been working closely with the West London Mental Health NHS Trust to develop non-contact, automated health monitoring of patients within its forensic mental health services at Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital.
Those in secure mental health facilities are often at high risk of self-harm and attempted suicide, and the Oxecam software can enable cameras to safely and unobtrusively monitor patients, triggering alerts and allowing staff to respond quickly to serious incidents.
The benefits of the technology in reducing rates of suicide go beyond quicker responses to incidents. Introducing the technology also frees up staff time, allowing care providers to concentrate on providing quality care for patients, rather than periodic or extended one to one health checks. Reducing these manual checks reduces disturbance to patients, especially throughout the night, allowing for better recovery.
Trials at Broadmoor have already demonstrated successful results in monitoring heart rate and breathing rate amongst volunteers, as well as the detection of health problems. Now with Innovate UK funding, we are continuing our work with Broadmoor to develop and trial our software in similar secure room settings, and in conjunction with leading UK authorities.
It's our belief that redesigning the provision of care to include safe health-monitoring technology, especially where secure rooms and more vulnerable patients are concerned, has the potential to reduce the impact of suicide and improve the quality of care.
Mersey Care NHS Trust placing such emphasis on suicide prevention is a positive step forward, and we believe it is possible for many more mental health trusts and secure room providers to adopt a similar approach. With innovative solutions in patient care increasingly available in medical technology like the Oxecam, achieving "zero suicides" could be eminently achievable.