When a person loses his sight, no one blames him for being able to only see shadows and not the sharp lines of whatever he is attempting to see.
Mental health patients have just as much of a vision problem as they have a mental health diagnosis. They see the world through tinted lenses.
To keep patients safe, hospitals and clinics rely on anti-ligature hardware. Someone struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts walks into a typical hospital room and sees dozens of dangerous items.
They might see a hinge where they can hang a bedsheet that doubles as a noose. They might see a piece of hardware that could double as a weapon for self-harm.
Anti-ligature hardware solves this problem. Hardware engineers now design doorknobs, furniture, and bathrooms to keep mental health patients safe.
What is Anti-Ligature Hardware?
Anti-ligature hardware does exactly what it claims to do: it prevents individuals from tying ligatures to the hardware. Truly, though, it also keeps patients safe by preventing them from turning hardware into a weapon.
Anti-ligature hardware falls into three basic categories.
Doors and Locks
Anti-ligature doors and locks must combine both aesthetics and functionality. Anyone can create a safe door and lock. Not every engineer can make these doors look nice.
Engineers have solved the “ugly” factor by creating doors with pressure plates on the top of the door. When the plate has pressure on it, an alarm at the nurse’s station will go off. This will tell nurses that someone is putting pressure on the top of the door.
Pressure plates and alarms prevent patients from tying bedsheets or other ligatures to the top of the door.
Some doors even have alarms and strobe lights right in front of the room. The strobe light in front of the affected door allows nurses to see immediately which room needs help.
Engineers have also begun designing doors with angled tops. If a patient attempts to tie anything to the top of the door, it slides right off the door.
Designers are also using metal doors that look like wood. The wooden look creates a warm, pleasing aesthetic with a durable door. They also will eliminate the gaps between the door and its door jamb. The lack of space prevents anyone from using the door as a fixed point.
Lock manufacturers work with door manufacturers to create safe doors. They provide ward-entry locks that meet sally-port controlled entryway needs.
An individual can open a ward-entry lock only with the correct key. They cannot pick the lock.
Hospitals are learning to replace traditional furnishings with safer, anti-ligature furnishings. Open shelves replace drawers. Engineers bolt down the furniture, preventing anyone from using it as a weapon.
They also replace traditional hangar rods with J-bars. They take out the traditional, short hinges and instead use continuous piano hinges. And much like how engineers create doors with slanted tops, furniture designers will slant the top of wardrobes for the same reason.
Designers have also begun using corners on dressers, shelves, and beds.
They pay attention to the mood that will help a patient recover as well. Hospitals can use lighter, softer, more calming colors to create a pleasing and safe room.
The bathroom concerns mental health officials most as this is a room with the most privacy. But you can still keep your patient safe, even when you cannot see him or her.
Handwashing fixtures, showers, and accessories all come in anti-ligature models. They have smooth, minimized ligature points. They still will look like a home, though, giving the patients a comforting feeling while they recover.
Some shower curtains and rods now have a break-away feature. They are magnetized so that if anyone puts a specific amount of pressure on them, they will collapse. Bathrooms have minimal supervision, so anti-ligature hardware matters.
Why Does Your Facility Need Anti Ligature Hardware?
Anti-ligature keeps patients, staff, and your facility safe. When you eliminate the potentially harmful hardware, patients can rest with ease and recover from their illness.
Your staff can also rest knowing their patients have the safest room possible.
Think about this way: you’d never offer a suicidal patient a fistful of pills. Why, then, would you put him or her in a room with a dozen different suicide method options?
Anti-ligature hardware protects the patient and allows him or her to recover well.
An older facility especially needs these upgrades. They have unique features that patients use creatively to harm themselves.
Designers who specialize in upgrading facilities understand the risks with old hardware. It can turn into a weapon used against staff, or it can lead a patient to harm himself or herself.
Newer facilities have no excuse for not using anti-ligature hardware. You have the best opportunity from the start to implement a hospital safety plan and keep your patients and staff safe.
Engineers, architects, and designers can design the hospital with the patient’s safety and wellness in mind. Using the newest anti-ligature hardware gives patients something beautiful and safe.
New hospitals need to focus on a holistic environment. Everything from the wall color to the materials used to the hardware should point to wellness and calmness.
As you look around at your facility, look for hazards. Perhaps you want to install anti-ligature shower valves. If you still have exposed pipes, the valves do not matter.
Beautiful and Safe
When you care about your patients, you want them to get well. Anti-ligature will give patients a safe room where they can recover.
For all of your healthcare facility needs, contact us.