Healthcare facilities, especially hospitals are seeing the increased need for more security, but they still want to keep an aesthetically pleasing environment for their patients and visitors. Architects and others are working to figure out how security can be optimized for increased hospital safety, while still offering a peaceful environment. Today we want to give you some best practices on how you can boost safety and security in your healthcare facility through effective design.
First and foremost, hiding places need to be minimized, whether it’s a patient trying to escape or someone trying to cause harm. The more open the environment, the harder it is to hide. Hiding places are hazardous to those working and those receiving care. Many times, walls create hiding places, and although critical to infrastructure, they can be reduced and kept to a minimum. If a wall is not needed and not part of the infrastructure, consider putting in a partial wall that is waist high to create visibility.
Although it is important to minimize hiding areas for those who wish harm, it is important to remember that if something goes wrong, your staff and patients need a way to stay safe. One of those ways to improve hospital safety is to create logical barriers for them to hide behind if necessary, such as desks, counters, large trashcans, etc. These should fit with the atmosphere of the floor or room, but should be used for hiding from harm if necessary.
Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common incidents to happen in a healthcare facility. You can help reduce the number of incidents and injuries by creating a space that diminishes the possibility of those instances. Having clear hallways will reduce slips, trips and falls and by eliminating clutter and cleaning up after spills. To further increase hospital safety, ensure proper signage is used, such as wet floor signs, and signs that provide the number for proper cleanup and disposal of unknown substances.
Security at a hospital has a lot of responsibility and must always be available to answer a call anywhere on the campus. However, many calls come from mental health patients that come into the emergency room. Reduce the time it takes for security to answer an emergency room call by building the security department next to the emergency department. Also, since the emergency room is the only area left unlocked after hours, security will be in closer vicinity, allowing for a more effective response when needed.
According to OSHA, workplace violence in the medical occupation represented 10.2% of all workplace violence incidents. Healthcare workers are at an increased risk of becoming the victim of assault from a patient. Because of this, more and more hospitals are being built with this in mind, by offering “safe rooms” for patients to be put in where they are out of sight from others and have no one to harm. It is a safer alternative then typical retraining procedures and allows medical staff to stay a safe distance away and watch through surveillance.
Hospital safety goes beyond a guard watching surveillance cameras, instead security is becoming a topic discussed when building in remodeling. Safer hospitals and healthcare facilities is a possibility and typically start with effective design. Keep these tips in mind when you are building onto or remodeling your hospital.