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Maximize the Value of Security in Healthcare Facilities

Today’s facility managers at hospitals, assisted living centers, nursing homes and medical centers are juggling multiple responsibilities. Those may include facility maintenance, new construction, assessing risks and vulnerabilities, and the planning and oversight of physical security to protect people, property and information against potential threats.   

These facility managers deal with constant visitor traffic, open access in multiple buildings, hectic emergency departments, confidentiality requirements, governmental standards and patient satisfaction surveys. To effectively deal with all these issues it is important for healthcare institutions to maximize their physical security partnerships. Savvy facility managers demand physical security providers who act as true partners and can lighten their considerable work load.

The public has gained an increased awareness of physical security at hospitals and because of this, many security directors and facility managers are being called upon to increase security and safety measures. Typically, there is little funding available to increase security. However, after an assessment of their security program, security directors and facility managers may find that their current security provider can offer additional services beyond their typical security duties.

Brand Ambassadors

Security officers can be trained to take on a customer service role. By combining customer service and security, visitors, patients and staff will feel safe and engaged the moment they enter the facility. This will also have a positive impact on patient satisfaction scores.

Security officers can also provide extra services beyond the front door. Valet services are a growing trend at hospitals, and security officers may be able to provide this service, while creating additional security visibility and as extra eyes and ears for the security officers on patrol. Security officers have also been trained to provide locksmith services, coordinate helipad arrivals/departures, and escort visitors and patients to their destination within the hospital campus.

Environment of Care (EOC) Team Members

Hospitals and medical centers maintain a long list of inspection items which security officers can help monitor and manage. As they are on patrol, security officers can conduct the monthly and annual fire extinguisher and fire/smoke door inspections and engage in panic/duress alarm testing.  They can test the elevators including smoke curtain deployments and plan, coordinate and execute monthly fire drills. Security officers should also be on the look-out for safety hazards and proper signage as they patrol the grounds and know to report deficiencies as they are encountered.

Parking Lot Monitors

Security officers are able to assess the moods and attitudes of people as they enter the lot or garage.  If someone seems troubled, they can offer a friendly ear and assess if the situation may escalate. They also direct people from the parking lot to where they want to go in the hospital and even jump-start dead vehicle batteries.

Emergency Responders

Contract security officers often serve as the first responders to non-medical emergencies. To successfully serve in this role, specialized training is required. Healthcare specific training for emergency response can include:

  • Disaster Response
  • Fire Response (RACE) and Prevention
  • HazMat Emergency Response
  • Workplace Violence Prevention and Response
  • Infant Abduction Prevention and Response
  • Command Center Operations 

When security responsibilities are designed to meet the specific needs of the facility, the security team can become an incredible resource for the facility manager. The evolving role of security creates an advantage as these expanded roles not only accomplish additional tasks, but also position the security team to be an even better integrated and seamless part of healthcare operations. Healthcare facility managers that embrace security’s role in enhancing their safety culture can tap into additional expertise and lighten their load.

Kenneth Bukowski is Vice President of Healthcare at AlliedBarton Security Services. Reach him at: Kenneth.Bukowski@alliedbarton.com

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