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

This Month's Article 

What is a Sentinel Event?

About Us

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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.  

A Toolkit For
The Built Environment


This week, (March 20-23, 2016), the American Hospital Association and American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) will hold their annual International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design and Construction in San Diego, CA. Each year senior leaders from all disciplines of healthcare planning, design, and construction come together at the PDC Summit in an attempt to better the healthcare “built environment.”

Efforts to better the healthcare built environment focus primarily on efficiency and outcomes of care processes. But patients in behavioral treatment facilities present additional challenges. Because some behavioral health patients intend to harm themselves, efforts to improve the behavioral healthcare built environment must also include constant vigilance toward minimizing patient self-harm risks while preserving privacy and fostering therapeutic settings. As a result, new or improved ligature-resistant products are an important part of the overall improvement of the behavioral healthcare built environment.

The Door Switch considers itself a participant in the ligature-resistant and behavioral healthcare built environment industries. That being said, we try to keep abreast of newly identified facility requirements and improvements to products. Behavioral healthcare staff play an important role in assisting in the evolution of this market, as their feedback on effectiveness, real world application, and ease of use is essential in driving innovation and product improvements.

As the industry’s understanding of patient needs within the behavioral healthcare built environment continue to evolve, new mandates and recommendations are being established for facility design. An example of such a standard can be found in the 2014 Edition of the Facility Guidelines Institute’s Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities. Per that handbook, safety risk assessments are now required for all healthcare facility projects. A second standard was described as follows by behavioral healthcare facility design consultant James M. Hunt, AIA, “The Center for Health Design is completing a three year Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality grant project to develop a comprehensive proactive Safety Risk Assessment Toolkit for facility design.”

The concept of this toolkit was introduced at last year’s PDC Summit in San Antonio, TX. Its application is intended to mitigate underlying conditions that create risks in completed projects. During the summit, a collaborative workshop was held to explore the benefits of the application of this toolkit as well as including additional stakeholders in the process of planning and designing facilities.

As facilities and industry partners strive to make safer the behavioral healthcare built environment, The Door Switch will continue to support those efforts by offering quality anti-ligature and ligature-resistant products engineered and manufactured to reduce patient self-harm risks. We offer product solutions that address patient ligature risks at both the tops and hinge sides of doors. Please call or email us to request additional information about our system or to schedule an in-person demonstration of our product line.


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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