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US Patent # RE42,991 & RE44,039 April 2016 
In This Issue

This Month's Article 

What is a Sentinel Event?

About Us

Contact Us

What Is A Sentinel Event? 

The Joint Commission defines sentinel events as occurrences to patients in medical facilities “…involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk thereof." As you will note from the pie chart above, patient suicides are a comparatively frequent sentinel event identified by The Joint Commission. The Door Switch was developed to mitigate the most common method of suicide employed in medical facilities—hanging using a door as a ligature point.

Please visit The Joint Commission for more information on sentinel events.

About Us 

The Door Switch is the original top-of-the door ligature attempt warning system and holds U.S. Patents RE 42,991 and RE 44,039. We have been serving mental health professionals since 2006.

Each Door Switch is a pressure sensor activated by approximately one to two pounds of downward pressure applied to the top, rather than the face (front or back surfaces), of the door. With system activation at the top of the door, ligature devices applied from either side of the door result in system alerts. Hospital staff are notified of system alerts by a combination of audible alarms, strobes, and door identification provided at a keypad typically located at a nurses’ station. The system utilizes proven Honeywell electronic components, including the Honeywell Vista 128BPT panel as the controller.

The Honeywell Vista 128BPT control panel provides an event log that records the times and dates of 512 events. The controller records the application of pressure to one of the system’s Door Switches, the removal of that pressure, and the turning of a key switch to silence the alarm. Logged events can be viewed from the keypad or downloaded to a computer and printed.

The Door Switch has been installed in mental health facilities across the country. We are proud to state that we have many satisfied mental health facility clients and can provide you with their contact information for reference purposes.

For additional information, a demonstration of The Door Switch, or a free quote, please call or email us.  

Quote of the Month 


“The tendency of an event to occur varies inversely with one’s preparation for it.”

–  David Searls

Obtaining A Door Switch System For Your Facility
Part One 


Initial Contacts, System Design & Selecting Installers

For the April and May newsletters, we decided to write a two-part article on the process of designing and installing Door Switch systems in behavioral health facilities. The purpose of this essay is twofold. It will provide a roadmap of the steps generally followed to design, purchase, and install a Door Switch system. Second, it will clarify to prospective clients that obtaining a Door Switch system should not be considered a daunting task.

If you are interested in a Door Switch system for your facility but do not know how to begin the process, the first step is to call us at The Door Switch and describe your requirements. We are very proud of our system and look forward to answering your questions and offering information about it. We will email you a quantity of electronic documents that we provide to persons interested in our product. Those documents include our complete product book, architectural specifications, and a summary of the features of our system that set it apart from our competition. If after learning about The Door Switch, you believe that our system might be a solution to ligature risks at your facility, we will discuss with you in an in-person visit to your facility through which we can demonstrate our system and fully explain its features.

In determining which of your facility’s doors should receive Door Switch coverage, we recommend that you consider covering doors to which patients have unsupervised access. For most facilities, such doors consist of patient room and bathroom doors. In hospitals where patients undergo long-term treatment and may have unsupervised access to day rooms and laundry facilities, such doors should also be considered for coverage. Through a process of identifying specific requirements for your facility, we will assist you in determining which doors require coverage.

We are the manufacturer and seller of Door Switches. As such, we do not install systems. Installations are typically performed through the coordinated efforts of door hardware installers and security integrators. A door hardware company normally installs Door Switch materials on covered doors. Security integrators install electronic components and program the system’s control panel. However, for some installations, security integrators perform all aspects of the installation process. They occasionally perform this dual role because many security integrators with broad experience in access control possess the tools and skills required to install Door Switch door hardware.

If you determine that you would like an estimate for a Door Switch system for your facility, we will work with you to determine how involved you wish to be in the process of identifying and selecting installers. Some facility administrators prefer to use installers who regularly perform work at their hospitals. Others prefer to be more “hands-off” and opt for complete turnkey projects. In those instances, we can identify and fully vet for you any and all required material installers.

Once we have identified and/or agreed upon an installer or installers for your project, we will provide a quote for your project’s materials to a distributor. In most cases, that distributor will be an installer on your project. However, there are other projects in which one of our national distributor partners will be called upon to step in and conduct the transaction. If you choose to purchase a system, you will contract for the materials and installations with the appropriate parties, and we will initiate the manufacturing and purchasing of your materials.

The materials that make up a Door Switch system include Door Switches; continuous hinges or door pivots, strobes, key switches, audible alarms, and a supporting system of HoneywellTM and AltronixTM electronic components. Components by both of those manufacturers are considered to be the standards in their industry. The security integrator will provide additional, ancillary materials including electrical boxes, appropriate low-voltage wiring, and lock cylinders and cores for the key switches.

The key point that we wish to make through the explanation of this process is that designing and purchasing a Door Switch system need not be a task approached with trepidation. We will work to simplify the process for you and perform as many (or as few) of the required tasks as you prefer.

Please look for Part 2 of this article in the May edition of The Official Newsletter of The Door Switch. In the second part of the article, we will describe the processes of material delivery, installation, and system programming.


The Door Switch 



The Door Switch 
11772 Westline Industrial Drive
St. Louis MO 63146

(877) 998-5625 toll free

US Patent No. RE42,991 and RE44,039

 US Patent No. RE42,991 & RE44,039                                                                                    

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