Hospital Biz: Ensuring the Security of Hospital Patients and Staff

June 19, 2017

Providence Health talks Hospital Security

By Kristy Mozee, Security Manager of the Providence Health hospital system

Hospital Security teams have an extremely important and difficult task: providing a safe environment to patients, staff, and visitors, as well as protecting the assets of the hospital, in all incidents.  It’s our duty 365 days 24/7 to ensure nothing illegal or potentially harmful happens on the inside or the outside of the facility that would interrupt patient care and regular daily operations.

Diving Deep in Security at Providence Health

Security here at Providence Health has met several challenges over the years, so this year we’ve taken a deep dive into what our security department needs in order to continue providing a safe environment for patients, staff and visitors. We identified many areas for improvement and then coordinated a plan to strengthen our abilities accordingly.

Here are a few of the programs we are doing in 2017 to enhance our security at Providence Health.

  • De-escalation training for all security officers so that they can approach, reduce the intensity of, and manage potentially dangerous people or situations
  • ASP Baton and Handcuff training for all security officers so that they properly use these tools to safely manage a threat
  • SLED Safeguard Training, designed by the SC Law Enforcement Division, to equip each officer with the overall knowledge of how to better respond to threats and conditions
  • Active Shooter Training with Columbia Police Department for all security staff to ensure that this event is responded to through a joint approach with police
  • Assessment of the Emergency Department with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to make sure this high traffic area is following best practices for security
  • Established new Use of Force Policy and new Emergency Department Restricted Lock Downtown Policy to make sure our procedures regarding these higher-probability incidents are up to date

Performing these upgrades and training reviews with our staff does more than further enhance our facility’s safety. It provides the staff of Providence Health with some comfort and confidence in knowing that we are doing all we can to ensure their safety while they pursue their own important role of keeping the community well.  

Why You Should Consider a Deep Dive Review At Your Facility

Whether or not your facility has had a security incident, you should be evaluating your department’s procedures and objectives to ensure that your security team can provide the highest quality of safety for your patients, staff, and community.

Begin by reviewing your facility’s security objectives. Identify what needs to be kept secure, who and what needs to be protected, what events need to be considered and prepared for, and how you would like safety measures to be performed or enforced. Those objectives are essentially your facility’s strategic plan for security, and from this plan, you can determine the proper staffing, training, and resources needed to meet your security goals.

"In order to provide the highest quality of safety, reach out in advance to the agencies that will be helpful when and if an emergency happens at your facility." 

Work with your local police departments, fire department, city emergency management team, other hospitals, CAT (Community Action Team), and any healthcare security organization such as International Association of Health Care Security. Set up meetings to discuss potential security incidents and develop an interactive response plan that takes advantage of the community’s resources to quickly contain and dissolve a threat.

As for internal involvement, each area of the hospital contributes to the facility’s overall security by knowing your policies and procedures and by understanding that they play a part in keeping themselves, patients, and visitors safe. This can be as simple as creating a quick and easy means for reporting the behaviors of individuals that could lead to weakened security. It also means ensuring that each department is familiar with their role in an emergency response before an emergency occurs.

The goal of keeping our staff, patients, and community safe, is no small task. By participating in additional training, working with local agencies, and educating staff on security policies and procedures, we can feel pride in our role and confident in our abilities in this vital segment of the healthcare industry.