The Distinct Security Challenges in Health Facilities
When you think of security guard services in Toronto, the first place you might associate them with is a retail shop, as security guards usually help prevent theft in such spaces. Although theft is not typically a big concern in healthcare facilities, security guards are often essential in these environments as well.
Additionally, there are many other distinct security challenges that tend to arise in these types of settings. Therefore, having security guards on-site to help manage such challenges makes a big difference.
For instance, hospital residents, especially in the emergency department, are often more easily agitated due to the pressure of the situation. If a patient (or their caretaker) needs to see a doctor immediately, but they have been forced to wait, they may become vocally or physically abusive to hospital staff. As well, large crowds in certain areas can pose a variety of issues.
The Multifaceted Responsibilities of Security Guards in Healthcare Settings
Security guards have a critical role in healthcare settings for a number of reasons. The following are some of the most significant roles and responsibilities that security guards typically have in the healthcare sector:
Patient Safety and Security
One of the top priorities in any healthcare setting is the safety and security of all patients. Security guards are tasked with maintaining the safety of these individuals through access control measures, the monitoring of visitor activity, and quick responses to threats. Even just the presence of security guards tends to put patients at ease, as it lets them know they are being safeguarded.
Staff Safety and Security
Since situations can occasionally get tense in healthcare environments, security guards are also responsible for keeping healthcare professionals and other staff members protected from workplace violence and patients’ or visitors’ aggressive behaviour. Without feeling safe, it is impossible for healthcare workers to provide quality care to patients, so this factor is crucial.
Although healthcare facilities do not often sell merchandise, they do house valuable medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and sensitive data. It is thus up to security guards to prevent the theft of such items. By doing so, security guards help keep everything running smoothly and efficiently.
How Security Guards Protect Patient Information and Maintain Confidentiality
Healthcare facilities often store a significant amount of sensitive patient information, and there are national policies in place that emphasize the importance of safeguarding this data. It is the responsibility of security guards to protect this data from breaches, unauthorized access, or cyber attacks.
For example, security guards can make sure a health facility’s electronic systems are secure by monitoring the network activity, enforcing data protection protocols, and training the facility staff on the best practices for data protection.
By taking measures to ensure that the privacy of patients is always put first when handling their information, security guards protect both the patients and the facility by making certain it complies with regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
In this regard, security personnel may also be responsible for performing risk assessments and audits to ensure that patients’ data security is never compromised. These responsibilities extend not only to digital data but also to any hard copies of patient documents, forms, etc. Again, patients will feel much more comfortable going to a healthcare facility where they know their data is being protected.
Ensuring the Safety of Healthcare Staff
You might imagine that healthcare staff are always treated with respect and appreciation by their patients and other visitors, as they are only there to provide help and care for these people. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Physical violence, harassment, intimidation, and other threatening or disruptive behaviour involving patients, staff members, and visitors are becoming increasingly common in healthcare facilities. It is up to security guards to identify such situations and de-escalate them in a professional manner.
Fortunately, even the presence of security guards on site often dissuades people from aggressive behaviour. When it does not, security guards have measures in place for dealing with these situations appropriately.
To properly respond to threats to the healthcare staff, security officers must be adequately trained in situational awareness, which often allows them to take proactive steps before things get out of control. They must also be trained to de-escalate potentially violent situations without using force or with only a minimal amount of force.
The Synergy Between Technology and Security
Technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever before. Through these technological developments, our lives have been made significantly more convenient. This extends to the realm of security as well, as technology lends itself well to the implementation of effective safety measures, making it possible for security guards to offer much more comprehensive protection.
Even the most highly trained security guards could potentially miss certain threats when monitoring those who enter and exit a healthcare facility. However, with access to various technologies, ranging from monitoring and access control systems to visitor management tools, this is much less likely to happen. Thus, health facilities will be increasingly safer as more technologies are integrated into these spaces.
Certain security-related technologies may make more sense than others in healthcare settings. For instance, video analytics, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze video footage in realtime and detect anomalies and suspicious activities, is an example of a technology that could make it significantly easier for security personnel to maintain the safety of everyone on site.
The Significance of Maintaining Security in Healthcare Facilities
Security guards should be a pivotal part of any healthcare facility, as there are numerous ways that they can make patients, visitors, and staff feel more secure and, in turn, more comfortable. Not only do they provide protection from physical threats, but they can also help guard the privacy of patients through data protection measures.
A combination of adequate training in things like situational awareness and de-escalation techniques, as well as the use of advanced security-based technologies, helps professional security guards make healthcare facilities safer and more secure.