Healthcare Safety Article Review: “Are You Safe?”

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I recently came across this article from U.S. News & World Report answering the question, “Are You Safe?” in a hospital. The article gave an in depth look at how hospitals in large metropolitan areas are protecting your safety as a patient, visitor, or staff member. Read below for an overview of this article and how we think it plays into overall healthcare safety.

Kristine Crane, the author of the article, focuses on healthcare safety at large campuses such as John Hopkins Hospital and George Washington University Hospital. Quotes from security personnel from healthcare safetyboth hospitals discussed some safety measures that were becoming a norm in hospitals all over the U.S. They discussed how the sign-in process has evolved into the visitor showing their ID and the attendant calling the patient to confirm the guest has permission to visit. Security cameras have long been the norm, but they have been upgraded and more have been added to most hospitals. Some hospital campuses have gone to using metal detectors for healthcare safety and security concerns, while others utilize unarmed guards in lobby areas and on patrols to increase visibility and heighten awareness. In addition, security is often heightened in higher anxiety areas of the hospital such as labor and delivery, the ER, ICU, and mental health floors. These areas typically have a swipe card access system and other enhancements. Most recently, some hospitals have begun construction to improve safety and security such as bullet proof glass, specialized window film, and changing technology in patient rooms to reduce what items can be used as a weapon.

The majority of the article discussed safety and security procedure upgrades to increase the safe atmosphere for anyone accessing a hospital campus, but the end of the article gave 3 very good tips for those accessing a hospital and how they can help in healthcare safety and security efforts:

  • Understand that long wait times can increase anxiety and the likelihood for someone to act out violently to get treatment or attention.
  • Follow the “see something, say something” mentality. Reporting anything or anyone that seems suspicious is not rude, it is being safety conscious.
  • Be patient and understand that security procedures are in place for a reason. Instead of getting annoyed that the check in process takes a few more minutes, understand that all measures are in place to keep patients, visitors, and staff safe from harm.

So what do we think? These safety and security changes are not only increasing safety for those who access the hospital, but also doing so while providing a welcoming environment. All of the safety changes talked about in this article are changes we’ve talked about making time and time again. Your hospital does not have to be on lockdown, but upgrades need to be made to reflect the times.

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