Hospitals and residential care homes have many care sector security challenges in common with other business premises but they also deal with some very unique issues too. Not only must they consider the security of their own employees but they also have to make adequate provision to safeguard patients and residents as well as have systems in place to manage the high number of visitors who come to the premises. It’s a challenge – but one that technology can help them meet. Why is the care sector so vulnerable? The presence of expensive equipment, prescription medications and medical supplies can make the care sector a particular target. Confidential documents must be kept safe. Residents must be assured of privacy when needed. Staff must be kept safe from the risk of threatening behaviour from patients or residents and also from visitors. Personal possessions of staff and patients need protecting. And security considerations aren’t just focused on keeping the wrong people out, they need to consider keeping the right people in too: it’s essential that hospitals and care homes mitigate the risk of vulnerable residents wandering off without adequate supervision. Add in the more recent concerns about healthcare premises becoming soft targets for terrorists and it’s clear that it’s a hugely demanding environment to keep secure. All of these risks and threats must be addressed – while trying to maintain an environment that conveys a welcoming, caring approach. What kinds of solutions are available to address these risks? These are all tough challenges to meet but the good news is that technology has come a very long way in addressing many of the safety and security problems faced by the care sector.
  • Access control
One of the major priorities is managing access control and nowadays there are many excellent systems designed to permit access only to people with the necessary authorisations to enter specific areas. Access control systems are usually comprised of three main parts: a physical barrier, an identification device and the physical barrier controller and software. Many of today’s identification devices utilise proximity cards and readers using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) which can be set to work at a short read range or a long read range and have the advantage of minimising the need to touch a door handle which can reduce the spread of germs.
  • CCTV camera systems and intruder detection
CCTV camera system and intruder detection technology has become increasingly sophisticated too. The quality of CCTV images nowadays is exceptionally clear and, as well as CCTV acting as an excellent deterrent in its own right, the footage can be quickly accessible for analysis and can be passed on within moments to the emergency services if required. Intruder alarms have also benefited from the developments in technology and can now be set up to be monitored remotely. Hospitals and larger residential care homes might also want to consider installing or updating existing systems to a fully integrated one which combines access control, CCTV, intruder alarm and fire detection systems.  When one part of the system is triggered, the other parts can be utilised to assess and manage the situation rapidly.
  • Infrared staff protection systems
Unfortunately the threat of personal attack can be all too real for staff in the care sector but innovative technologies like infrared staff protection systems can play a substantial role in addressing this.  Employees carry a transmitter and if an attack takes place, they activate it. The signal is immediately picked up by a receiver which sounds an audible alarm and allows security staff to rapidly identify the location of the individual. Some systems allow for different levels of call priorities which can give others the chance to intervene as a situation is escalating rather than after a verbal or physical attack takes place. Part of providing a secure environment is also by giving the best possible care to residents and patients and to help achieve this, care home staff can utilise technology like emergency assistance alarms and nurse call systems. It’s also about keeping employees and residents safe from the risk of fire by doing a comprehensive fire risk assessment and identifying systems that enhance the fire protection given to vulnerable residents by, for example, installing disabled refuge systems. Do you need help with improving security in your care sector premises? Jackson Fire and Security can install a range of products including emergency assistance alarms, infrared staff protection systems, nurse call systems and induction loop amplifiers. We also utilise leading edge technology in CCTV systems, intruder alarms and access control system installations.  If you would like to know more about how we can work with you to improve staff and resident security and safety in your residential care home or hospital setting please get in touch with us today.