The Retreat – York, UK Case Study

‘Patient alert at the touch of a button’

The Retreat, commonly known as the York Retreat, is a place in England for the treatment of people with mental health needs. Located in Lamel Hill in York, it operates as a not-for-profit charitable organisation. EkoTek was introduced to provide onsite two-way wireless staff protection and a patient alert system that raises an alarm from the touch of a button.


The Retreat is a charitable, not-for-profit provider of specialist mental health care in York, UK. Established over 200 years ago, it treats people with mental health problems humanely, with dignity and respect. Working closely with the NHS, the facility provides services for people with complex and challenging needs in an open and calming environment, designed to enable recovery and independence.

As part of its commitment to patient support and care, The Retreat relies upon its communications system to provide patient and staff protection, along with the coordination of services, reacting instantly to any needs or challenges. Having looked for the perfect solution, the management team turned to the expert provider of medical sector critical communications, Multitone Electronics.


The Need
As part of an internal review, the team at The Retreat identified the need for a fresh communications solution, as Dave Pearce, Maintenance Supervisor, explains, “We needed a new pager system to support our critical emergency response functions. The old system relied on pagers that were notified via a telephone, which were not quick enough in summoning help in emergency scenarios.”

There were also specific practical needs due to the unique nature of the buildings at The Retreat, as Dave added, “The Retreat is an old building with very thick walls, which would have made the installation of a wired call system highly disruptive to clients and staff, and ultimately more expensive to install.”


The Solution
At the centre of the new communications system is Multitone’s EkoTek solution. This provides The Retreat with an onsite two-way wireless staff protection system and patient alert that raises an alarm from the touch of a button, or lack of response from the user. With location details provided with the alarm, assistance is directed straight to the person in need.

The Retreat identified four important reasons for choosing EkoTek, the first being that it offered a simple and straightforward installation process. Dave commented, “As a battery powered mesh wireless system, we were able to install EkoTek quickly across the site, whilst still being able to operate the old legacy system. This greatly reduced the impact of the installation on the hospital.”

Additionally, the maintenance team at The Retreat already had previous experience of working with the Multitone EkoTek System and felt confident with the product.

Another significant advantage is the low running costs. This is particularly important to The Retreat as it maintains the system itself and needs to ensure costs are affordable and predictable.

The fourth primary reason for choosing EkoTek was the professional support on offer, as Dave added, “Multitone provides excellent backup, advice and training, both from the sales and account team, along with the engineers that have assisted us throughout the process.”


The Result
EkoTek has provided The Retreat with exactly the emergency communications the team and its clients required. Staff and patients can easily summon assistance at the touch of a button, with full details of their location instantly relayed to the appropriate team or person. The new network also provides coverage for all parts of the hospital complex, ensuring personnel (including lone workers), clients and visitors are always fully protected.

This has made a marked difference to the procedure in an emergency, as Dave explained, “Beforehand, at one unit within the facility, our staff had to use the telephone pager system to call for assistance from across the hospital. This could have resulted in a delay in response times. Now we have the Multitone system we can summon assistance immediately when required.”

In keeping with the ethos of dignity and respect, EkoTek provides a discreet yet effective way of ensuring the safety of everyone at The Retreat. Dave concluded, “The system has provided us with a modern, fit for purpose, emergency response solution that works well across the hospital. With technical expertise, excellent products and very helpful customer support, we would happily recommend Multitone as an ideal communications supplier for other medical organisations.”