Given an increase in violence in the hospital setting and continued attention on hospital security programs, the International Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation (IHSSF) recently completed a research project examining current hospital safety and security practices.
The purpose of this study was to examine the carrying and use of weapons among security personnel working in the hospital setting, including the assessment of how weapons used in hospital violent events may vary by hospital characteristics. In addition, the study aimed to assess the incidence of violence in the hospital setting in the previous 12 months, including the association between violence and weapons use among security personnel.
As an example, participants were asked whether the hospital’s security policy included each of the following components: employee involvement, management commitment, incident reporting and record keeping, training of security staff, hazard prevention and control, and worksite analysis. Nearly all hospital policies (99%) had at least one component. About half of hospitals (55%) had all of these components included in their security policy.
The study highlighted the importance of the relationship between security and clinical staff. In order to assure a safe and secure environment for patients, visitors and staff, security officers need to be integrated into the patient care team, as well as in violence prevention planning and management, from the architectural design stage through daily operation and future planning.
While the debate continues about whether the availability and utilization of weapons by security personnel in the hospital setting is wise, especially the use of TASERs,® this study shows a lower risk of physical assaults in hospitals in which TASERs® (or similar devices) were available to security personnel, which suggests these devices may be useful tools for de-escalating and controlling potentially violent (or already violent) situations.
Read the full IHSSF weapons survey, “Weapons Use Among Hospital Security Personnel.”