NAPA, Calif.--()--Napa State Hospital announced today that it will allow a Psychiatric Technician's lanyard invention to be used to carry the facility's new personal alarm sensors.
“They're finding out that Psych Techs can do anything.”
The brainchild of longtime Psych Tech and CAPT Napa Chapter Secretary Mike Jarschke -- who also is a patent-holding inventor by trade -- the new lanyard includes additional features allowing wearers to feel much more confident about wearing their alarm sensors around their necks: a concern that was raised as the forensic facility rolled out its brand-new wireless alarm system.
"It's been a real team effort," said Jarschke, noting that hospital administration extended an open-door policy to any staff to offer improvements or ideas as the new alarm system rolled out. "People have asked me if I'm going to get paid for my idea, but my pay is helping this hospital. That's what Psych Techs do: We're problem-solvers."
The new lanyards will be available to staff beginning next week.
While eagerly anticipating the new alarm system, which began activation August 14, Napa State Hospital employees expressed numerous concerns about sensor lanyards creating safety hazards when dealing with patients with assaultive behaviors. Jarschke's modified lanyards were carefully tested by Department of State Hospital reviewers and succeeded in eliminating any possible hazards.
Napa State Hospital workers currently have the ability to wear the sensors on waist metal-clip carabiners: an option made available following employees' increasing fears about wearing the previously provided neck lanyards. Union activists and concerned employees worked to ensure that carabiners and Jarschke's new lanyards could now be recognized as the official methods of wearing the alarm sensors in a safe and secure manner.
The new alarm system at Napa is the first of the new systems being installed in California state hospitals following the Oct. 23, 2010, murder of Napa State Hospital Psychiatric Technician Donna Gross. Gross was killed by a patient on NSH grounds in an outdoor area where her antiquated alarm did not work. Napa's alarm system and the sensors' carrying accessories will serve as examples for the four other state hospitals, further emphasizing the need for any of Napa's concerns to be promptly addressed.
"Working this out for other state hospitals makes me happy," said Jarschke, whose mother was a Psychiatric Technician and whose father was involved in electronics and mechanics. "They're finding out that Psych Techs can do anything."
“Absolutely no one wants this alarm system to be a success more than we do,” said Linda Monahan, who is CAPT’s Napa Chapter president and also a longtime Psych Tech. “We just want it to work safely, for the sake of both staff and patients. Thanks, Mike, for using your expertise to help all of us here at Napa!”
The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians is the elected union representative for 7,000 state-employed Psychiatric Technicians and related workers who provide compassionate, professional mental health and developmental services for the Californians in our care. CAPT also is the professional organization for all of California’s 14,000 licensed Psychiatric Technicians.