Atrium Health is beefing up security at many of its hospitals and health facilities. Visitors will soon have to check in at reception desks and in some places have to go through metal detectors.
Starting next month, Atrium says it will have more armed security guards and will cut down the number of places to enter and exit its facilities by 45 percent. Atrium will also train employees in de-escalation techniques, security-aware behaviors and active assailant awareness.
Maureen Swick is senior vice president and system nurse executive and executive in charge of Atrium Health security operations.
“We look at the industry and right now healthcare industry is number four for workplace violence," she said. "We want to be ahead of that. We want to make sure that all of our patients and our teammates are safe.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that between 2002 and 2013, healthcare workers were four times as likely to be involved in serious workplace violence that cause them to miss work than those in private industry on average.
Swick said Atrium is being strategic in its placement of metal detectors. They will be installed at higher risk locations including Behavioral Health-Charlotte, Behavioral Health-Davidson and the emergency deparment at Carolinas Medical Center.