Community Connections for Health Care

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Safety and Security

by Joan Bachman
Everyday practices of orderliness and caring are the most important features to creating a pleasant atmosphere. This is true in a care facility as well as in our personal homes. However, the care facility or provider is responsible to expand on a nice atmosphere to ensure a safe and secure environment for residents, family members, and employees.

Thoughtfully established and consistently applied high standards for employee selection, orientation, training, and supervision will provide the environment that feels safe. Extra touches can make it feel as secure as home. Remember to include all the aspects of safety and security such as infection control, electrical safety, hazardous materials, fire safety, disasters, violence, evacuation, and preventive maintenance.

All systems (ex: fire, smoke, emergency power, locking mechanisms and policies) and equipment (ex: wheelchairs, monitors, communication, AED,) must be maintained for immediate use, and equipment located in logical places. Regular training and drills will keep employees and residents comfortable with procedures in case there is a real situation. Emergency contact numbers/systems should be readily available and updated regularly.

Daily news reminds us to be always ready and able to manage a crisis. Regular fire, flood, and other drills will keep staff and residents most prepared to respond successfully. The Administrator should be involved with community-wide disaster response systems to be certain of inclusion in planning and shared information for access to community resources. Staff must be regularly updated on their responsibilities within the community plan.

Opportunity for violence within the facility may be lessened with a Violence Prevention Program. Such a Program would require policies that include reporting of every violent or threatening incident to the Administrator who will take appropriate action. Threatening behavior does include bullying. Policies must also clearly prohibit weapons of any kind on the premises except by law enforcement or security officers. Staff should know they have the right and responsibility to call law enforcement when a situation warrants outside intervention.

As care providers, we have accepted responsibility to care for frail and vulnerable persons who have trusted us to replace their lost abilities. During unwanted and unexpected situations, prior planning and preparation will ease our anxiety to meet our obligations.

About the Author

Joan Bachman

Joan Bachman is a Registered Nurse, Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, Registered Health Information Technician, and Faith Community Nurse. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Joan has experience as a Nurse, Administrator, Developer, Trainer, Grant Writer, and served as Administrator of SD State Survey Agency. She has consulted with health care facilities and nonprofit organizations and presented leadership training. Joan is the author of Guidebook for Assisted Living Facilities and Senior Service Providers and Guidebook for Physician Services in the Nursing Facility, and she has published in professional journals.

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