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US Patent # RE42,991 & RE44,039 June 2018 
In This Issue

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.  

Patients Still At Risk After Discharge:
What Can We Do?
Studies about suicides that occur in both inpatient settings and after discharge help shed light on what the behavioral health community can do to help reduce these tragic occurrences. One such study published in the Psychiatric News by the American Psychiatric Association is titled All Patients at Risk for Suicide After Psychiatric Facility Discharge, Study Finds. This study uses 50 years of data in international meta-analysis published online in JAMA Psychiatry and concludes that home visits, social support, and care coordinators accompanying discharged patients to appointments can lower suicide risk.

It is an epidemic not limited to inpatient facilities and hospital rooms. The suicide rate in the United States has continually increased in the past decade. In contrast, the rates of eight of the other 10 leading causes of death in the United States have declined in recent years.

The authors reported that the suicide rate was highest within three months after discharge and among patients admitted with suicidal ideas or behaviors. The high suicide rate of discharged patients might be attributable to multiple factors, according to the authors. One of them is that the threshold for admission has gone up. Due to overcrowding and declining beds over the last 30 years, what used to be considered a mandatory admission is now not. Other factors include shorter lengths of inpatient treatment, increased prevalence of substance use, publication bias in favor of recent studies from regions with a higher suicide rate, and greater acuity of illness among those admitted in the deinstitutionalization era.

Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University School of Medicine stated: “The national increase in suicide rate brings renewed urgency to suicide research and implementation of effective suicide prevention programs.” Olfson noted that in the United States, transitions from inpatient to outpatient care are often “poorly managed” and suggested that the connection between inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services be strengthened to help lower suicide risk during the first months when the risk is highest.

One study in the United Kingdom found successful measures, such as following up with the patient 7 days after discharge, that significantly decreased the suicide rate during the first three months of discharge.

“Only about half of psychiatric inpatients receive any outpatient care during the first week after hospital discharge, and only about two-thirds receive any outpatient mental health care during the first month,” Olfsen wrote.

He suggested that to make meaningful progress in reducing the rate of suicide, “system-wide reforms in monitoring patients after hospital discharge will likely need to be complemented with traditional suicide-specific patient interventions.”

To read the full report and study about transitioning inpatient patients to outpatient programs, 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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