Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are thought of as safe havens for patients and the community. But the threat of violence or other security risks is more common than the average patient may think. Hospitals must balance the need to be welcoming with the need to be as secure as possible. Leaders of healthcare organizations are tasked with developing protocols to ensure patient safety and well-being just like any other business.
Why Healthcare Facilities and Hospitals Face Unique Security Risks
Hospitals face a unique challenge to providing security because of the environment—patients and loved ones arrive at the hospital stressed out and feeling emotional during emergency situations and planned procedures alike, which could lead to conflict.
According to healthcare security expert Tony York, CPP, CHPA, executive vice president at Paladin Security & PalAmerican Security, hospitals are unique because they are open and accepting of anyone who enters, which means other patients and staff may be subject to unstable or volatile people—including those who are intoxicated, have a behavioral health issue, or are imprisoned and visiting for care.
But hospital security cannot be intrusive—it can’t get in the way of delivering care to the community it serves. Hospital leadership is faced with developing strategies for mitigating risk as it evolves.
Crime and Security Mitigation Strategies
The American Hospital Association (AHA) and the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) have developed their workplace safety guidelines, “Creating Safer Workplaces: A guide to mitigating violence in health care settings.”
To help mitigate risk and keep patients and staff safe, the AHA and IAHSS recommend:
- Developing a workplace safety committee
- Conducting annual hazard vulnerability assessments
- Considering environmental design’s impact on safety
- Engaging internal and external security personnel
In addition, the AHA and IAHSS recommend leaders use CAP Index Scoring System to forecast local crime around a hospital or healthcare facility. Leaders can use the data to appropriately plan and mitigate risk with security staff, cameras and other technology. Assess your facility’s risk.
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Senior Manager of Asset Protection
Five Below, Inc.
CAP Index is the first tool I turn to when time is of the essence. I can always depend on CAP Index to provide me qualified crime information within a very few minutes that I feel comfortable reviewing with the C-Suite.
Stephen A. Brown, CPP
Director, Corporate Security / Facility Security Officer
Burns & McDonnell
CAP Index data is a vital part of our security decision-making process.
Keith McGlen, CPP, CHPA
Associate Vice President
System Security Services
Memorial Hermann Health System
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Manager, Global Security Programs,
Kraft Foods, Inc. / Mondelez International
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Bank of America
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The Williams Companies
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Director, Protective Services
Nationwide Children's Hospital