The first time I heard a nurse call for security, I quickly ran to the room and assisted to keep a patient settled down. At first, I thought the patient quieted down because I was there but as I turned there was a large burly gentleman who took up the doorframe with his arms crossed. The patient was looking directly at him and immediately became compliant while we restrained him so he would not pull out the various IV tubes.
At that point, I became interested in security issues from a health provider's point of view. While working in various hospitals, I noted cameras at entrances and exits by doorways and down some corridors, while most doors were secured with a numerical lock. Inside the hospital, some areas were restricted and required a swipe card attached to a name badge to enter. There was usually a security detail driving around or walking the perimeter of the facility as well. As I ventured into the world of SNFs, I noted a significant decrease in cameras and generally no security detail.
I did some research related to nursing homes and shootings and began to wonder why security seems so lax in a place that cares for the elderly and others who are unable to care for themselves. Some of the shootings were murder-suicide situations but the deadliest took eight lives (seven residents and one nurse) and injured three others. Could security measures have stopped this?
Cameras around the perimeter of a facility can deter some criminal activity but numerical locks or card swipes for outside doors will stop people from entering a facility. This can make visiting a loved one more like entering a lockdown unit than a residential care home but the safety of the residents, patients and staff is the utmost concern. What do you think -- should more safety measures be taken at the facility where you work?