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Published December 13, 2012 3:22 PM by Jason Marketti

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?


I often felt like a prisoner when we activated our alarms and security cameras around our home.  I didn't want strangers in my home like some of my neighbors had.  Unfortunately there are enough criminals that force us to become locked up in our own environment.

I have seen cameras around other care facilities but they were not hooked up to any recording device and other cameras looked so old I doubt the reception would capture anything of value if a crime did take place.  

Thank you for your comment

Jason Marketti December 18, 2012 6:33 PM

Interesting discussion dovetailing with Lisa M's post on whether or not we have a role in the gun discussion as well.

I went and visited an older relative in a multi-stage facility this weekend. The independent living area has similar security to an apartment building with an intercom system and locked doorways. Some cameras are in the common areas and are non-intrusive. The dementia unit, where one of my relatives resides, is in complete lock down, more to prevent wandering than to thwart unwanted entrance.

We are becoming a society where more and more we are willing to be 'locked up' to protect ourselves. From gated communities with security details to the 8 security cameras I noted in a restaurant my coworkers and I ate at on Friday. We are becoming prisoners in our own world. I think there are other ways to protect ourselves in this society without creating a virtual Alcatraz around ourselves.

Dean Metz December 17, 2012 12:04 PM

I think a nursing home or an assisting living place should be like the place they live in. This is there home-even if they don't like it-don't make them feel worse by having freinds or family feel like they have to prove to the staff that they are there to see the patient. Jason is it better to be a patient or a therapist? I love you guys

terry tesch December 14, 2012 1:42 AM
menasha WI

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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