Security systems topped the list major investments made by hospitals nationwide in 2016, according to Health Facilities Management 2016 Security Survey. Not only were security budgets increased, 75 percent of hospitals described aggressive behavior from family, friends and others as the source of security challenges. And the task falls to security professionals to manage threatening behavior and train staff to spot issues.
What kind of issues? The scenario that unfolded four years ago in Geisinger, Wyoming is shockingly common: the gunman in a drug-related shooting followed four injured victims to Valley Medical Center, where he pretended to be a family member in order to gain access and kill his targets. Luckily, security guards intervened.
Training helps staff members identify behavior that could lead to escalated violence and provide a process for de-escalating situations, preventing injury and securing other patients. But when weapons are involved, staff needs additional protection.
All hospitals are at risk
The truth is, hospital workers need more support than many realize–especially where safety is concerned.
According to the occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), healthcare workers experience more on-the-job injuries than construction and manufacturing facilities in one year. The International Council of Nurses state that healthcare employees are physically assaulted more often than prison guards and police officers, making it one of the most hazardous occupations in America. In 2015, roughly 75 percent of workplace assaults occurred in healthcare facilities.
Despite these conditions, bullet-resistant barriers are only required by OSHA in large hospitals. The National Institute for occupational safety and health (NIOSH), however, recommends the installation of deep service counters, bullet-resistant or shatterproof enclosures in reception, triage and nurses stations.
Sources of hospital violence
Hospitals are bearing the brunt for cracks in the system, becoming a holding facility for mentally ill patients and criminals requiring medical attention, according to the Health Facilities Management 2016 Security Survey. Patients and family members are also becoming more physically aggressive, along with opioid and other drug users. The top incidents during the past 12 months include:
- 51 percent increase in patient and/or family violence towards staff
- 44 percent increase in patient and/or family violence towards staff, outside of emergency department
- 38 percent increase in attacks and assaults
Security professionals can’t manage these situations alone; bulletproof solutions go a long way to protect hospital staff and create a safe environment for all patients.
Bulletproof solutions for hospitals
Hospitals need a range of solutions to secure an expansive space. These options are a good starting point:
- Vision Window: designed to block off and protect an area. A good option for exterior windows and hallway pass-thurs
- Exchange Windows: used to communicate with patients and transfer papers and prescriptions. Exchange windows can be customized.
- Flip Windows: useful for large package transfers
- Service Windows: used primarily for pharmacy windows. It contains a speaker that allows people on sides of the glass to communicate.
Creative Industries can manufacture the bullet-proof and bullet resistant windows required by your plans for a hospital or medical services building; we have nearly 50 years of experience creating and installing custom bulletproof windows and products for industries that include banks, convenience stores, government buildings and schools.
Contact us for more details or a quote.