Taking Steps for Violence Prevention in Hospitals

September 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

Given the recent, tragic event in Baltimore, combating violence in America’s healthcare institutions is top of mind for hospital administrators.  This unfortunately is not an isolated incident.  In a June 3, 2010 Sentinel Event Alert (Issue 45), The Joint Commission identified violence in healthcare settings as consistently among the top 10 sentinel events reported.

The Alert also quoted Russell L. Colling, M.S., CHPA, a healthcare security consultant, as saying “A key to providing protection to patients is controlling access.” It is precisely this control of access that is difficult in a healthcare setting.  Employees, contractors, referring physicians, vendors, sales reps, patients, and patient visitors are just a handful of the groups that have legitimate reasons for being in the building.  The Joint Commission rightly suggests that a primary component of violence prevention  is hospital staff participation in the enforcement of access control.

Short of interrogating everyone they come across, how can facility staff, nurses, or even security identify who belongs and who does not?  A simple step is to badge each and every individual in the building.  If everyone is required to wear a badge, there is no guesswork about who does or does not belong.

Implementing a badged-entry only policy allows facilities to define and begin to control their access points.  Taking this one step further and using technology solutions to electronically issue badges can provide a facility an accurate picture of who is in the facility in the event of a disaster or emergency.  Forward-thinking institutions are even leveraging badging events as a means to perform credential validations, background checks or infection control inspections.

While access control cannot prevent every adverse event, these measures can provide a safer, more comforting environment of care for patients, providers, employees, and visitors.

This blog post was guest written by Chris Luoma, Vendormate’s vice president of business development.

Entry filed under: Joint Commission. Tags: , .

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