A ligature is anything which binds or ties something together. In the context of mental health or patient safety, ligature refers to points or objects within an environment where individuals may attempt to attach or tie a cord, rope, bed sheet, or similar items to fixtures or structures in order to create a point of attachment for suicide or self-harm purposes.
Load release anti-ligature products provide a straightforward and effective solution for minimising or eliminating ligature risks associated with various fixtures in patient areas. Multiple mechanisms are now available to achieve the load release function, while the underlying principle remains consistent: in the event of an abnormal load, such as an attempted ligature, the fixture will release, thereby eliminating the ligature risk. This is particularly beneficial for fixtures inherently prone to ligature risks, such as curtain tracking, towel rails, coat hooks, and more.
When considering load release products, it is essential to evaluate the potential implications once the release occurs. While these products can be ideal for low acuity environments, caution is advised when implementing them in high acuity areas, as the released product could potentially be misused as a weapon or projectile. Additionally, it is crucial to assess how easily the released products can be reattached. With the systems offered by Hipac, the reattachment process simply involves pushing the product back into the holding bracket until it clicks into place or until the magnets securely hold it in position.
Fixed anti-ligature items are generally items that are required to bear weight or strain such as a grabrail, or a door handle.
As it is not optional for these products to release under an abnormal load, the ligature risk is eliminated by designing it in such a way that it is not possible for a cord-like object to be looped or tied around it.
In certain applications, such as on bedroom doors, it may not be possible to completely eliminate the risk of ligature. In such cases, the next best option is to have the ability to detect when a ligature is occurring, allowing staff to intervene before it is too late.
Ligature detection technology typically works by detecting an abnormal load, such as the weight of a person, and providing an alert to care staff via a nurse call or staff attack system. It is essential for this technology to be discreet, so as not to detract from the healing environment, and to avoid tampering that could lead to false alarms.
Certain items, like a wardrobe rail, have the potential to be forcibly removed from their intended location and used as a weapon by patients. While healthcare staff receive training to handle confrontations with violent patients, it is essential to minimise such risks through innovative product design. Hipac provides a variety of solutions specifically designed to mitigate the risk of harm in healthcare environments. These solutions aim to enhance the safety and security of both patients and staff, ensuring a conducive and protected setting for everyone involved. By implementing these innovative designs, the potential for patients to use items as weapons can be significantly reduced, promoting a safer healthcare environment overall.
Closed doors within patient areas poses a significant risk, as patients can potentially barricade themselves or others away from staff, visibility, access, and assistance. To address this challenge, a comprehensive range of anti-barricade solutions has been developed, enabling staff to overcome barricaded doors and swiftly gain access to the patient.
These solutions offer multiple levels of barricade over-ride mechanisms. For instance, some doors are designed to swing outward in emergency situations, allowing easy access for staff. Additionally, certain mechanisms are integrated into the door locks themselves, effectively countering tampering and attempts to prevent staff from unlocking the door. By implementing these anti-barricade measures, healthcare facilities enhance the safety and security of both patients and staff. Swift access to patients behind closed doors becomes possible, ensuring timely intervention and support when needed.
Abuse and Durability In mental health settings, the fixtures and fittings play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of individuals.
They must not only endure targeted abuse but also withstand any resulting damage without posing a risk of self-harm or harm to others. Additionally, it is essential that these fixtures do not interfere with critical safety mechanisms, as they are integral to maintaining a secure environment. By withstanding rigorous abuse and preventing harm, these fixtures and fittings contribute significantly to the overall well-being and protection of individuals in mental health settings.
The Door Hardware Federation Technical Standard (DHF TS001) is the most relevant and recognised independent guideline available internationally to test and grade the ligature capabilities of hardware products. Testing with this standard varies depending on the nature of the product and how it is to be installed. Products are classified into categories (A,B or C) to determine which test is to be applied and are then graded according to ligature resistance from 1 through 4, with 4 being the highest/safety grade. The testing method and grade can then be combined (e.g. A4), and this rating applied to individual products.
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