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 SwitchTM 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.
The Door SwitchTM 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 SwitchTM 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 SwitchesTM, 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 SwitchTM 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 SwitchTM, or a free quote, please call or email us.
|JOINT COMMISSION JULY 2019:
Get Ready for New Suicide Prevention Standards
In July of this year, The Joint Commission (TJC) implemented new suicide prevention standards. According to TJC literature, suicide rates are worsening in the United States. Suicide prevention has been an element of performance for hospitals accredited by TJC since 2007, but the new requirements go further. These new requirements consider the hospital’s “approach” to suicide prevention in deciding their accreditation status.
TJC specifically states: “Because there has been no improvement in suicide rates in the U.S., and since suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, The Joint Commission re-evaluated the National Patient Safety Goals [NPSG] in light of current practices relative to suicide prevention.”
The group has held expert panel meetings since June 2017 to develop these new suicide prevention policies. These standards require hospitals to have assessment tools and additional procedures in place to avoid citations from the TJC surveyors. TJC surveys occur at hospitals every three years. Hospitals are issued citations and then have to submit a plan of correction showing they have fixed any violations.
The most notable issue for hospitals have been patient injuries caused by self-harm and suicides. With the behavioral health patient population increasing in healthcare faciliites, this important issue becomes an even higher priority and “thoughtful design” must be considered.
Specific revisions that TJC have made to the NPSG include the following:
Behavioral healthcare organizations, psychiatric hospitals, and psychiatric units in general hospitals should conduct environmental risk assessments to be ligature-resistant. Specifically, hospitals must conduct an environmental risk assessment that identifies features in the physical environment that could be used to attempt suicide. They must also minimize ligature risks by taking such actions as removal of anchor points, door hinges, and hooks that can be used for hanging.
Some additional requirements are the following:
• Conduct risk assessments to identify objects in the environment that can be used to attempt suicide, and minimize the risk presented by such objects
• Screen all patients being evaluated for behavioral health conditions to determine whether they exhibit suicidal ideation
• Document the overall level of risk for patients at risk for suicide and the plan to mitigate that risk
• Train and assess staff who care for patients at risk for suicide
• Develop discharge policies for patients at risk for suicide
The new requirements mark the first time that TJC will consider a hospital’s approaches to suicide prevention in deciding whether the hospital should remain accredited.
To learn more and read this entire article, click here.
The Door Switch wants to continue the fight for more awareness and provide additional resources to dispel the myths about mental health issues and solutions for safety issues. We also continue to strive to provide a product that keeps the hospital environment safe. We continue to be committed to better practices and procedures in the mental health community. For information concerning our safety product, please click here.
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