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US Patent # RE42,991 & RE44,039 August 2018 
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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.  

Design Assumptions That Can Prove Deadly  


Though preventive measures and increased staffing are two important measures to aid patients at risk for suicide, they are no longer the only solutions anymore. Design-based solutions that are specific to the behavioral health field and vary widely from general hospital needs are key now. Though prevention, correct diagnosis, and extra staffing are extremely helpful, design-based solutions in the facility itself are the frontline of safety now. In fact, The American Psychiatric Association and the Veterans Hospital Administration have deemed unreliable the tools used by healthcare professionals to evaluate suicide risk in patients. Therefore, facility considerations should assume all patients will be at risk and all design should be as suicide-resistant as possible.

This finding has brought drastic change in the behavioral health industry and how they approach patient safety. In particular, past protocol of many health facilities that have relied mostly on staff and admission procedures to determine patient safety is changing. For instance, facilities used to rely on the cost saving measure of providing the unit a few more specialized rooms within view of the nurse station for patients considered to be at risk for suicide attempts. But this approach not only puts additional strain on the staff to be everywhere at once, it is not always reliable.

Failing to consider design-based solutions possible in behavioral health facilities can expose patients to increased risk, pose challenges to the staff entrusted with their care and add unnecessary long-term costs as these risks are mitigated with operational strategies, such as increased staffing.

Behavioral Healthcare reports there are tools available to minimize the ligature risk of tight fitting doors, which are required by code and are often considered an unavoidable risk factor. These include pressure sensors, which would alarm to a central station. Anti-ligature door hardware is also available. The Door Switch is a product that provides a tool for patient safety and aids the staff and current prevention measures already in place.  

To read the full report  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 mental health community. For information concerning our safety product, please click here


The Door SwitchTM  



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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