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Safety for All: Keeping Patients and Staff Safe in Behavioral Health Environments

Although mental health awareness is on the rise funding for Outpatient Mental Health programs is being cut across North America. At a time when healthcare systems capacity to deliver mental health services is shrinking the need is rising.  The result of the loss of these programs is a marked increase in patients presenting at emergency departments who require treatment for mental health issues. This unique patient population has very specific needs and require environments that are safe for both the patient as well as the staff.  Healthcare organizations are creating specialized crisis beds both in and outside of the ED and short stay units. Recently there has been lots of discussion around the best physical layouts for these areas within the emergency department but very little about the actual construction and materials best suited for theses environments.  Design standards have yet to be developed. This session will review 2 case studies of built behavioral health areas within existing emergency department. We will provide an in-depth look at the materials, products and systems developed to provide safe and durable environments with special attention given to anti- ligature and durability.