Midwest Healthcare Group Tightening Up on Security

Source: Cathy Yeulet - 123RF

St. Louis, MS – SSM Health, a leading provider of healthcare services is beefing up its security presence at their facilities in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

The group has over 40,000 employees and over 10,000 medical providers at its 20 facilities in the region.

Statistics from OSHA show that hospital employees are more prone to injuries that lead to missed days of work than those in construction and manufacturing.

While 48% of the injuries are caused by overexertion, 9% are caused by violence, according to OSHA.

According to a report in Modern Healthcare, Todd Miller, public safety and security specialist for SSM’s St. Louis region, which includes eight hospitals, said, “We wanted to figure out a solution for stemming workplace violence by getting ahead of the curve because it’s a national trend, and, unfortunately, we are not immune to it.”

The goal is that security guards will be a more integrated part of the care team, actively communicating with patients and clinical staff on hospital units so they can get a better sense of situations that could be potentially violent and intervene before they escalate. 

Miller added, “The role of our security officers has changed now with much more emphasis on being another facet of the care team.”

Security officer managers at the hospitals communicated the initiative to the guards and clinical staff.

The security officers already have crisis prevention training, but they were encouraged to better use some of the training principles, like building rapport with clinicians, patients, and families and spotting potentially aggressive behavior before it escalates. 

Under the new program, the officers round on each unit of the hospital at least once a day, speaking to nurses and other clinical staff about any concerns they may have about patients or their families. If a nurse brings up anything, the officer then speaks one-on-one with the patient and family to find out what may be wrong and how it can be addressed.

Miller said a four-month average of calls to security for a disruptive patient was just over 34. Since 2017, the four-month average dropped to less than 16.