Residents of behavioral healthcare facilities may be in a vulnerable state of mind and could be at a higher risk of harming themselves, or others.
This unique situation, in what could be a challenging environment, calls for tested and reliable ways to enhance the overall safety of the facility and reduce the potential for ligature danger. Starting with these five tips, you can reduce the ligature danger in your facility, creating a safer, more rehabilitative environment for residents.
Every area of the facility that can be accessed by residents should be carefully assessed to identify any potential ligature risks. This assessment will aid in creating a plan to address and reduce ligature danger in your facility.
Some key areas to assess closely may include the ceiling, drop ceilings may not always be appropriate, electrical outlets doors and door hardware, and the furniture. Additionally, any lose items should be removed.
Beyond the physical surroundings, staff should pay close attention to residents, and identify those who may be at a higher risk for inflicting self-harm, or harm to others. In these cases, diligent 1:1 observation should be in effect, keeping in mind being able to intervene quickly is a must, so monitoring through video may not always be ideal.
In areas where direct observation may not always be possible, such as bathrooms and resident rooms, thorough risk assessments are imperative to eliminate all ligature danger and avoid any finishings or furnishings that could potentially be used dangerously.
Any area of the facility that may pose as a risk of ligature danger should be thoroughly assessed to reduce points of harm. In areas where this is not possible, however, resident access should be limited, or used under careful supervision.
Access to areas such as roofs, balconies, and staff areas should be restricted to residents to reduce ligature danger and help ensure the safety of all residents, this will prevent residents from reaching areas, or items, that have the potential to be used to inflict harm.
Because providing 1:1 observation in resident rooms is not always possible, the need for creating a ligature resistant resident room is paramount to resident safety.
Examples of anti-ligature furniture that could be installed in resident rooms includes anti-ligature beds, nightstands, storage shelves, desks, and even suicide resistant chairs. Additionally, ligature points in resident rooms to avoid, or use ligature-resistant alternatives for, may include coat hooks, pipes and radiators, curtain rods, ceiling fixtures and even door handles and hinges.
Even the smallest details can make a big impact on resident safety. The installation of anti-ligature furniture provides many safety benefits to all facilities, namely by removing any areas that could be used to tie down rope, cord, bedsheets, or other materials to cause ligature restraint.
Additionally, anti-ligature furniture removes any moving parts, features rounded corners, and durable one piece construction to further enhance safety and remove the possibility for the concealment of contrabands.