At Construction Specialties, we believe that listening leads to innovation, and opportunities can happen any time, anywhere. Our sales teams are ready to collaborate with our customers to improve a product or develop a custom solution to meet any need. What started with a mock-up door and cubicle curtain trial led to an innovative safety enhancement to ligature-resistant curtain carriers.
With California having one of the country's largest behavioral health facilities, CS’ Marc Hallen, with McQuarrie Associates, called on the State of CA Department of Developmental Services. Hallen offered a free mock-up door and curtain to be placed in the facility so they could test CS quality in a real-world setting. The customer agreed. As the product trials continued, conversations developed around common challenges within the behavioral health care facility.
The customer liked the mock-ups but still required certain safety enhancements to their facility’s curtains. “There was a desire to eliminate all metal and plastic hooks from the curtains,” said Hallen. “At the time, the facility was using roller-type hooks and wanted to go the ‘plastic bead chain route’ without the hook.” In addition, the customer required a maximum-weight resistance of 20 lbs. so patients couldn’t harm themselves on the curtain before the carrier detached.
How We Did It
Hallen set out to learn as much as possible about the behavioral health market. “It was an educational process for me,” said Hallen. “The most innocent-looking scenario could be a threat to patients and others. In the blink of an eye, patients can attempt to harm themselves.” Hallen took the requirements for the enhanced cubicle curtain carriers to CS’ product experts to evaluate feasibility and alignment with their capabilities.
Using CS’ existing breakaway carrier as a starting point, the team sketched out multiple alternatives and then moved on to several rounds of 3D printed prototypes. After rigorous testing, stakeholders from the California behavioral health system approved the part and placed the order.
“I knew if we could get this approved, it would fill a gap in other behavioral health facilities,” said Hallen. “This is exciting from a big picture perspective. I’m excited to start talking about this product and how we can help even more patients within other facilities.” Hallen is inquisitive by nature. So sales calls are mostly about probing for opportunities. Among his favorite questions: “If there’s anything you could change about the product, what would it be?” Little did he know that question would lead to a forward-thinking innovation for patient safety that will likely save lives. “More opportunities can be unveiled if you just ask,” said Hallen. “You have to be open to going with the conversation and ask open-ended questions. The next thing you know, you’re uncovering a new need, and that’s right up CS’s alley.”
Bringing New Ideas to Market
Interactions like this one can be a potential game-changer for the industry. As the front line to our customers, CS’ sales teams are uniquely positioned to identify and communicate unmet needs in the market. In the end, addressing one customer’s concern led to a new ligature-resistant carrier not currently in the market – and a potential patent for CS. “If anyone could do it, I knew CS could. I’ve seen them collaborate on custom solutions with many of their other products. It’s in their DNA,” added Hallen.
One end of the carrier pops out to release the curtain but remains intact and on the track as one piece. The carrier design is safer for behavioral health patients and the care teams, releasing from 8.5-10.5 pounds of pressure.
With the breakaway carrier, parts don’t break off during an “event.” The innovation eliminates the possibility of patients harming themselves or others with loose parts that could threaten life and safety. The released portion of the carrier can be reinserted for reuse, eliminating the need for complete replacement.
Learn more about our patent-pending Breakaway Carrier SBC30
Take advantage of CS’ free curtain mockup program here.
Take advantage of CS’ free mockup door here.
Connect with your CS representative here.
To explore other behavioral health product solutions from CS, click here.