How to Improve Employee and Patient Safety in Mental Health Facilities
Mental health facilities can be ideal locations for individuals to face and overcome traumas as well as imbalances in their own psyche. Whether you’re a manager of a mental health facility or overseeing the development of a new center, understanding the importance of safety in mental health facilities is imperative. When you are familiar with the ins and outs of working in a mental health facility, you can discover new ways how to improve safety in mental health facilities for both employees and patients alike. The safer the environment in a mental health facility, the easier it will be to manage the mental healthcare that each individual patient needs at the time.
When it comes to paying attention to an individual’s mental health and current mental state, a thorough assessment is a necessity. If a patient arrives on-site at a facility, their concerns should be taken seriously, especially as they pertain to their own well-being. Ensuring that you have hired adequate and qualified staff to provide thorough and complete assessments is also key.
Advantages of Complete Assessments
Before allowing an individual to check into any facility for care, you will need to better understand their current mental state, history, and other previous diagnoses that they may have received in the past. The more you understand about a particular individual before allowing them to remain on the premises, the easier it will be to determine where to place them and whether they require a private room to themselves or may benefit from promoted socialization. Complete assessments also help you to get to know patients better before they begin receiving the care that they need in your facility.
Most addiction treatment facilities and mental health facilities today include dual diagnosis solutions. Dual diagnosis is highly recommended for individuals who are not only struggling with their mental health but also potential issues such as addiction. Regardless of what the addiction entails, an individual receiving a dual diagnosis will get a more thorough workup and assessment based on the severity of their addiction and presented mental illnesses.
Providing dual diagnosis services may require you to work with various professional psychiatrists, depending on the type of care facility you intend to operate. Offering dual diagnosis services can also help you to expand your clientele significantly in a short period of time, as many individuals who are struggling with their mental health may be in dire need of support and assistance with their own addictions. If you are thinking of providing dual diagnosis services, keep in mind that you may also be required to follow additional rules if you intend to retain patients on-site at your facility for any length of time.
Safety Benefits of Dual Diagnosis
Taking dual diagnosis seriously can help prevent unwanted arguments and physical contact between patients and staff. A complete and thorough understanding of each individual patient you intend to accept and house will help you to create a working treatment plan that is highly customized to meet their needs. Dual diagnosis will also help your staff to dig a bit deeper when getting to know new patients who are visiting your facility for the very first time or those who have no history of mental illness.
Routines and Regulations
When it comes to implementing safety in mental health facilities, routines and regulations are essential. Ensuring that all patients stick to a daily routine is not only ideal for safety purposes, but it can also help them to get back on track in their own lives. Oftentimes, being stuck in a poor mental state can cause individuals to stop tending to daily routines, chores, tasks, and even their work or family life. By reintroducing strict schedules, rules, and regulations, you can help to provide those in need with the balance required for them to make a full recovery.
For staff who are working in your facility, it is also recommended to schedule vendors during times when patients are sleeping. This will cause minimal disturbances while simultaneously allowing your staff to easily accept food, drinks, supplies, and medication without a hassle. Consider using an overnight delivery service while your patients are asleep for collections.
The Importance of a Regular Routine and Schedule
A routine and schedule are important for anyone, regardless of age, class, or the type of lifestyle they choose to live. A lack of routine or a schedule can lead individuals to feel hopeless, purposeless, and without motivation or drive. This is key for those who are already struggling with a mental illness or for those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness in the past. Maintaining an ongoing schedule and routine is also a way for those who are struggling mentally to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each of their days. Routines can help significantly when it comes to making progress and learning how to find balance in life again, even for those who are currently struggling.
Implementing proper safety in mental health facilities requires ongoing and consistent monitoring. From designating staff members to monitor specific areas of your facility to incorporating high-tech monitoring solutions, cameras, and software, there are many different solutions to consider before opening and operating a mental health facility that is accessible to the public.
The Importance of Monitoring Staff and Patients
Monitoring staff interactions with patients can help ensure that conversations are appropriate and that employees are following staff rules and guidelines at all times. Monitoring patients can also help staff members to gauge who may require more individualized attention and who is coping best as they work toward their recovery. The more important aspect of monitoring patients is the ability to prevent them from harming themselves or others. Self-harm is extremely common in facilities that are focused on mental health. Protecting staff and patients from any physical harm should always remain a top priority when you are managing or investing in a mental health facility of your own.
Designated Secured Patient and Employee Spaces
Creating designated secured patient and employee areas in your facility is imperative for safety in mental health facilities. Creating spaces that are designed solely for staff members, and patients, or spaces that are gender-oriented can help those who are in need of assistance feel more comfortable in your facility’s environment. While it is possible to designate separate rooms in a facility for patients and staff, you can also consider the option of investing in automatic gate systems, depending on your budget and the layout of your facility itself.
Authorized Access Solutions
Along the same lines of designating specific areas for patients and staff members, you should also consider implementing authorized access solutions when you are concerned about the safety in mental health facilities. Authorized access solutions make it easier than ever to prevent patients from entering rooms or spaces that they are not permitted in. Using keycard solutions, thumbprint, or even iris readers, you can integrate an authorized access solution to prevent patients from entering medication and staff break rooms without a hassle.
Advantages of Authorized Access Solutions
Investing in an authorized access solution is not only a way for you to minimize disruptions by staff and patients, but it’s also a way to easily monitor and keep track of access attempts. Using a forward-thinking authorized access app or solution can allow you to monitor the areas of your facility in real time. Keep track of who is entering and exiting specific areas of your facility to ensure that all staff and patients are behaving appropriately at all times.
Proper Training and Education
If safety in mental health facilities is a top priority for you as an owner or investor, you will need to ensure that all the staff you hire to work in your facility is properly trained and educated. Certifications, education, and experience should matter when it comes time to find staff to help manage your care facility. Because patients who are seeking help at your facility are likely in a fragile state of mind, it’s essential to take the search for new employees seriously, whether you are interested in hiring one staff member or an entire crew.
When you are hiring staff for any mental health facility, be sure to run background checks and verify references. Hiring those with experience can also help streamline the process. The more you trust your staff, the easier it will be for you to focus on other elements of operating a mental health facility.
Forward-Thinking Technologies for Safety and Patient Wellbeing
When it comes to safety in mental health facilities, you should also consider which forward-thinking technologies that are available that may help improve your own location. Technologies such as security systems, monitoring apps, live camera feeds, and even health monitoring solutions can drastically change how you operate your own facility. Take time to familiarize yourself with your options before solidifying your own business plan.
Safe and Healthy Dining, Bathing, and Sleeping Accommodations
Providing safe and healthy dining, bathing, and sleeping accommodations can have a major impact on the experience of your patients. From offering blankets and comfortable beds to implementing a hand washing station in bathrooms for patients, there are many ways to assist those who are in need of help to feel more comfortable in your facility. The safer and more welcomed a patient feels in your facility, the more easily they can recenter their focus to their own mental health.
Cleaning Services and Suitable Waste Disposal Solutions
Working with a local hazardous waste disposal company is highly recommended when you are managing or overseeing the operations of a mental health facility. Waste disposal solutions are imperative when managing medical waste, biohazard materials, medications, and even human waste for testing and medical purposes. Hiring a local cleaning company that specializes in cleaning health facilities is highly advisable to ensure the sterility of your facility once the cleaning is complete.
Access to Legal Resources
Another way to help your care facility stand out from other mental health locations is to provide your staff and patient with access to legal resources as necessary. For patients who may have been mandated to visit your facility for a DUI or another incident involving substance abuse, providing them with resources that allow them to contact a DUI attorney for their case can have a significant impact on their overall mental health. When a patient feels as if they are being listened to and genuinely cared for, even if they have committed a crime or received a DUI, they will likely remain more open-minded when it comes time to seek help and stick to a treatment plan that is ideal for their needs.
Clean Drinking Water and Healthy Food Choices
Running a reputable mental health facility requires clean drinking water and healthy food choices. Because food and water intake matter when it comes to an individual’s overall mental state, proper diet, nutrition, and clean water should always remain a top priority for those managing mental health facilities. If you want to ensure you are providing your staff and patients with proper food and water, you can work with local food suppliers and a trusted water treatment company near you to get started.
Access to Additional Medical Specialists
If you want to provide your patients with as many resources as possible at your facility, consider offering access to additional medical specialists to those in need as necessary. From working with a trusted psychiatrist for anxiety to networking with reputable sleep doctors near you, it’s important to provide your patients with as many treatment options and resources as possible as they are working their way toward recovery. When a patient feels as if they have options and resources available to them, they are also much more likely to remain motivated to work on rebuilding their mental health.
When it comes to implementing safety in mental health facilities, there is often no such thing as being too precautious. Because prioritizing safety in mental health facilities for employees and patients alike is a top priority, implementing safety measures, technologies, and solutions can go a long way. The more you understand the inner workings of any individual mental health facility, the easier it will be to develop and execute a working plan of action that helps to keep all patients and staff members safe at all times.