U of Michigan takes a layered approach to safety in 2024

Health system violence and violence against physicians and practitioners has continued to rise in the last few years, with the healthcare and social services industry recording 453,200 nonfatal injuries in 2021 — more than any other industry. 

From hospital shootings to direct attacks on physicians and nursing staff, healthcare workers continue to face newfound and escalating dangers every day. 

Now, several systems, and even legislative members, are introducing efforts to improve safety for the workers who risk their lives to provide care for others. 

Brian Uridge, deputy director of public safety and security at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, told Becker's what his team is doing to prioritize patient and physician safety in the new year. 

Question: What are you most looking forward to in 2024? 

Brian Uridge: We are looking forward to the implementation of our concentric rings of security strategy becoming operational. Our most exciting challenge for 2024 is a violence reduction initiative in the health system focused on reducing both the risk and anxiety of our patients, staff and visitors. We refer to it as concentric rings of security. Each ring serves as an equally important safety prevention layer of defense within the concentric rings of security. The outermost ring provides an opportunity to evaluate and plan for potential safety risks before reaching the perimeter of the institution. As one progresses through each ring, the tools identified below offer a sort of "Swiss cheese" approach. If a potential security concern advances through the first ring/barrier, the consecutive rings create additional safety layers/barriers designed to prevent and/or reduce chances for harm to workforce, patients and visitors. The rings include preparedness, engagement and training, external perimeter cameras with analytics, visitor management, mobile duress alarms, armed law enforcement, K-9s and metal detectors.

Q: What is your system/team prioritizing this year? 

BU: Our team is prioritizing violence reduction focused on trust, training and technology as described above. One of the training programs that has taken off is our scenario-based home healthcare training called REACT. Rapid environmental assessment and control training.This training is focused on teaching situational awareness to home health care professionals. "Home health and personal care aides are some of the fastest-growing occupations, with a projected growth of 34% from 2019 to 2029; in 2019, the workforce numbered 3.5 million with a projected 1.1 million additional jobs through 2029," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook

Q: What are the biggest challenges you anticipate facing this year? 

BU: The hiring of security officers is one of the biggest challenges we are facing.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars