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What is a Secure Hospital?

empty hospital corridor with secure doors

All hospitals are secure hospitals, right? Not necessarily. Although all hospitals tend to have security measures in place and are secure buildings to an extent, a secure hospital takes security standards to a new level. Here is what you need to know about secure hospitals:

What is a Secure Hospital?

A secure hospital is a high-security healthcare facility. What sets secure hospitals apart from other hospitals is that they control the traffic in and out of the facility and this is usually done for the safety of patients and the surrounding communities.

Secure hospitals provide accommodation, multidisciplinary treatment, and support within the facility for patients who pose a risk to themselves or the public. Although many security measures may overlap with general hospitals, they are usually implemented to a stricter standard and there are more measures in place for high-security hospitals.

Psychiatric hospitals, which are also called mental health units or behavioral health units, are often secure hospitals. Other types of long-term care facilities may also be high-security hospitals, units, or wards. Secure hospitals are also often used to admit patients who need care and are currently imprisoned, need to be admitted instead of imprisoned, or are on their way to prison after committing criminal acts.

4 Common Security Measures in High-Security Hospitals

Healthcare security solutions tend to require a specific approach. Beyond strictly controlling traffic in and out of the facility, there are more components that make up security in a secure hospital setting.

High-security hospitals rely on strict physical security, procedural security, and relational/therapeutic security to keep everyone safe. Here are a few common security measures in high-security hospitals and wards:

1. Strict Access Control

Unauthorized access is one of the common security threats and vulnerabilities of hospitals, especially secure hospitals. People cannot move freely in and out of secure hospitals. Patients must remain at the facility until they are cleared to leave and visitors must be strictly managed as well. This requires a comprehensive access control system that can manage access at all entries and exits as well as areas within the facility.

All doors need to be secure. Access should only be granted to authorized personnel and all access to them needs to be monitored. Additionally, there are usually multiple stages of access, especially for exterior doors. Depending on the facility, there may be multiple doors and containment areas where someone would need to pass through two or more secure access points to enter an area. One of the important things to know about electronic access control is that it is built to scale, integrate, and apply to complex access management situations.

2. Effective Wander Management

Because patients in a secure hospital cannot move freely in and out of the facility, high-security hospitals also need to implement wander management systems. This allows the facility to locate residents, monitor their location within the facility, and also manage their levels of access within the facility.

The right wearables and integration with access control systems, video surveillance, and other security systems are all components of an effective wander management system. Staff should be able to assign access levels, manage, and monitor patients based on their needs and the facility.

3. Real-Time Resident Locating

Resident locating capabilities are part of any good wander management system, and they are also necessities for high-security hospitals and wards. Real-time monitoring needs to be paired with alert and call systems, incident management software, and more for the most efficient and effective resident locating. At any time, staff should be able to identify and locate patients within the facility and respond quickly to incidents.

4. Integrated Alert and Call Systems

One of the biggest benefits of integrated security systems is the seamless integration of multiple security products and solutions. When various security products and systems work together and communicate, your facility and everyone in it are more secure.

Alert and call systems that integrate and communicate with wander management, resident locating, access control, video surveillance, and more means more comprehensive security for your facility. Additionally, it improves patient safety, staff safety, response times, and more while helping to reduce and prevent workplace violence in healthcare.

All of these things are benefits of installing an emergency call system and they are also essential in high-security hospitals where risk needs to be monitored and proactively managed. Incidents in secure hospitals can quickly become dangerous for everyone involved.

With the right security measures in place, they can act as a deterrent to reduce incidents. And, when incidents do occur, they can be managed quickly to avoid escalation and injury to patients or staff.

Secure hospitals need to meet and maintain specific conditions and requirements in order to maintain safety for patients, staff, and the public. If you are interested in upgrading the security of your hospital or another type of healthcare facility, contact NEPPS at 800-736-1456.