Protecting Patients And Health Care Staff in Mental Health Facilities.
All mental health facilities have a duty of care to protect both staff and patients whilst in the facility. This is why all mental health facilities undergo in depth design before any patients or staff is allowed to work in them.
Design of waiting areas.
Common waiting rooms are designed with the patient in mind; they are decorated in neutral colours, to calm patients and create an environment of peace and harmony. Here usually there is a TV that displays content relevant to the facility on the process, even day time TV programs may be displayed for the patients to watch. This in turn occupies the patient, and when the patient is called to see a nursing professional such as a nurse or doctor, the perceived waiting time is less than it actually is and they are in a good state of mind.
When you look round you will see the seating is bolted to the floor, it’s comfortable and again the colours are calming. Any window blinds are anti ligature, ensuring that if anyone tried to hang anything on them, the rail comes off automatically when any downward force is applied.
TV’s are usually either recessed into the wall or put into special anti ligature TV enclosures that are designed with 4 sloping sides (patent pending), to prevent any looping of material around the TV or the housing to cause self-harm to the patients.
Patient room design.
All patients’ rooms are designed to provide privacy to the patient whilst they are undergoing medical care. Patients can be from children to seniors, mental health does not know and age difference, having said that we need to provide a safe environment for them and this is why their rooms are very well designed.
Everything inside a patient’s room is anti-ligature, from the door hinges and handles to the curtains. The furniture is solidly made and fastened to the floor, so it cannot be moved. If a TV is in the room, these are in protective anti ligature TV enclosures preventing unauthorised access to the TV and mounting bracket by the patient.
Then in the bathroom, the toilet is even anti-ligature preventing any vulnerable patient harming themselves.
Nursing staff stations.
Usually these are in a high visible position, so all rooms can be seen and staff can act quickly and professionally to any patient requirements. At the nursing staff observation posts, there are also panic buttons to summon additional support staff if and when required.
Depending on the severity level of the facility, CCTV monitors may also be viewed from the nursing station, with direct support from security.
Yet, all the cables have to be tidies away, to prevent anyone attempting self-harm by creating a ligature around any furniture of wall mounted product.
We do have a duty to care and provide a safe and secure environment for people who are mentally ill, no matter what their age or stage of life.