Health & Healthcare / Other

Providing a safe environment for hospital staff, patients and visitors

Hospitals are committed to promoting the health, safety and welfare of all its staff, patients and visitors. Health and safety practices are embedded throughout an organisation to provide a secure environment in which to work. Hospital security staff and arrangements keep patients, staff and visitors safe from inappropriate behaviour such as violence and aggression.

In the lead-up to the 9th Annual Safe and Secure Hospital Conference, we had the chance to speak to Dean Marks, Security Manager at Western Health about the complexities of safety and security in the hospital setting.

Informa: What are the greatest safety and security risks in hospitals?

Dean: Apathy and Division. Apathy disengages you from your surroundings. Division separates you from the team and bigger picture. I see people working in silos too often.

Informa: Aggressive patients, increasing violence and dangerous situations – How do healthcare workers ensure that these issues do not impact their personal health and wellbeing?

Dean: We need to help our healthcare workers become resilient. This is not to say that they are to accept negative behaviours, it does however mean that we as a community must accept the environment in which we work and the nature of the risks associated.

Healthcare workers need to understand dynamic risk and risk aversion and not just in the clinical sense. These are not difficult concepts. Training needs to be addressed and specific to environment.

These skills need to be taught whilst studying at entry level and continued throughout their careers. The presentation I will be delivering at this year’s conference addresses this specifically.

Informa: Why is it important for healthcare workers to gain full support from their organisation and senior executives?

 Dean: Security and Safety must sit as part of the Corporate Plan and there should be skilled and trained professionals that brief the executive management team with respect to these matters. With executive support a great deal can be achieved.

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Informa: How does your hospital facilitate collaboration between security personnel and clinicians?

 Dean: We are very fortunate in so far as we hold scheduled and impromptu meetings to which Clinicians and Security attend. The purpose is to facilitate understanding and not only identify cause, but also effect.

Informa: You are speaking at this year’s 9th Annual Safe and Secure Hospitals Conference to be held on 17 – 18 October 2016 at the Novotel Melbourne on Collins. Who are you looking forward to hearing from at the event, and why?

 Dean: I am looking forward to hearing all the speakers and listening to the matters raised by attendees. I am interested to see the growth in programs since last year and to hear what has and hasn’t worked.

I am hoping that speakers bring potential solutions and not just research metrics. We know we have problems, so it will be interesting to discuss how will we work together to solve them.

 Informa: Finally, what do you hope the attendees will take away from your presentation ‘Physiology of Response’, at the 9th Annual Safe and Secure Hospitals Conference?

 Dean: Irrespective of environment, workplaces become insular with respect to their focus in the attempt to provide the best product. In doing so they more often than not focus on only one aspect of a problem to the detriment and growth of others.

I am hoping to shed light on a critical aspect of healthcare that in my own experience, I have seen narrowly focused. I am hoping to give attendees new tools and knowledge to successfully build their capabilities to provide the safest environments possible for their staff and patients.

For more information about detailed conference agenda and to register, please visit the Safe & Secure Hospitals Conference website.

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