Healthcare facilities are usually open 24 hours, seven days a week and open to all members of the public. The result is many unknown visitors in and out of the facility daily with security concerns such as ER and pediatric patients, pharmacy stock, expensive medical equipment, and high stress situations for all.
- Controlled Access: One approach is to limit access to the facility and control the entry points. This is done by creating security checkpoints, using metal detectors, locks that can be remotely controlled and reinforced doors. The use of security personnel also helps to monitor and restrict access to the facility. Entry and exits should also allow for easy evacuation.
2. Layering Security: “Layering” is a common approach to security that incorporates multiple levels of security measures to protect against threats. The layers include outer perimeter security, building access control, internal building security, safe rooms, and emergency response plans. Layering creates a comprehensive security that provides a wide range of protection.
At Saint Luke’s East, multiple layers of security are used to separate public, private and staffing areas. These layers include exterior doors, a reception desk as a checkpoint and interior doors for private spaces.
3. Separation of High-Risk Areas: Separating high-risk areas, such as emergency departments or behavioral health units, from other areas of the facility helps to prevent incidents from spreading throughout the facility. This is done by creating physical barriers, such as walls and doors, as well as the use of security personnel and technology.
While the emergency reception and express care areas are connected in Newman Regional Health’s Emergency Department, doors and glass can be used to separate the spaces in case of a security issue.
4. Safe Rooms: The creation of safe rooms within the facility provides a secure area for patients, staff, and visitors in the event of a threat. These rooms should be designed with reinforced walls, doors, and locks, and are in areas that are easily accessible.
5. Training: Finally, providing staff with regular training helps them to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a threat. This training should include strategies for evacuating the facility, locating safe rooms, and communicating with law enforcement.
In summary, the architectural design of healthcare facilities can incorporate a range of measures to protect against danger. It is important to note that no security system is foolproof, and regular reviews and updates to security measures are necessary to ensure effectiveness. In addition, healthcare facilities need to maintain a balance between a safe, secure environment and a welcome, open environment. Patients, staff, and visitors should feel comfortable in a place where they are healing and working.