What do my security officers need to know about handling unruly patients?
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September 1, 2010
Editor’s note: Healthcare Security Alert provides expert answers to your security questions. The following questions have been answered by experts in the field. If you have a security question for one of our experts, e-mail Associate Editor Tami Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What do my security officers need to know about handling unruly patients before they are restrained? There have been some news items about serious injury and death after security used force to subdue patients.
A. Steven MacArthur, safety consultant at The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Marblehead, MA: Security officers must be absolutely competent in crisis intervention, from verbal management of events to—as I like to call it—“the laying on of hands.” The possibilities, in terms of practical knowledge, are almost limitless. A good place to start is with your local or state chapter of the International Association of Healthcare Safety & Security (www.iahss.org), which may be able to help you connect with peers in your area, who are likely experiencing similar patient demographics. By networking with peers, you’ll have access to what other folks are doing in terms of education and competencies.
Your mention of “some news items” makes me think that I should also bring to your attention The Joint Commission’s most recent Sentinel Event Alert, which focuses specifically on violence in the workplace. There are a number of helpful suggestions in the Alert. Visit www.jointcommission.org/SentinelEvents for more information.