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US Patent # RE42,991 & RE44,039 January 2020 
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This Month's Article 

What is a Sentinel Event?

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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 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.

About Us 

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.  


Because of the lack of improvement in suicide rates in the U.S., The Joint Commission (TJC) put into effect new suicide prevention practice requirements designed to improve the quality and safety of care for those who are being treated for behavioral health conditions and those who are identified as high-risk for suicide. As of July 1, 2019, the requirements went into effect for all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and behavioral health care organizations. As of July 1, 2020, these requirements also will apply to Joint-Commission-accredited critical access hospitals.

The added emphasis on suicide prevention comes at a time of national concern about suicides in hospitals and is meant to complement the “Zero Suicide” campaign, an effort by several outreach groups to eliminate suicide in healthcare facilities nationwide.

“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,” according to a written statement from TJC’s newsletter Perspectives.

To avoid a citation from the TJC surveyors, hospitals will be required to:
• Conduct risk assessments to identify objects 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

Since March of 2016, TJC surveyors began to pay closer attention to the assessment of potential ligature (hanging) injuries, suicide risks, and self-harm monitoring, especially in psychiatric hospitals and inpatient psychiatric patient areas in general hospitals. While previous recommendations did not mandate that hospitals make changes to the ways they try to prevent suicide, the new requirements mark the first time the TJC will consider a hospital’s practices for suicide prevention in deciding whether the hospital should remain accredited. For more information, 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


The Door SwitchTM  

The Door Switch™ is referenced in the OMH Guidelines! Click below to view its recommendations.
See page 35 of the OHM official Patient Safety Standards Guidelines here.

The Door SwitchTM 
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                                                                                    

11772 Westline Industrial Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63146
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