Security in Elder Care Facilities
Facilities for seniors have some unique security challenges. Residents require protection along with the care and comfort they are provided. As a broker who provides service to agents addressing the coverage needs of elder care facilities, it is important for you to understand the security problems and requirements these facilities must address.
Violence has increased in our society. This has increased the challenge to provide a safe and secure environment for elder care facility residents. Additionally, technological advances have allowed facilities to employ sophisticated monitoring equipment, alarms, and security systems. Litigation also has had an impact on the security functions of personnel in elder care facilities.
Senior care facilities present some unique security challenges. When the elder care facility is establishing security, the following areas must be addressed to meet these challenges:
- Resident and Family Relations
Due to the nature of their age and dependency, residents of elder care facilities have more significant interaction with the security staff than in many other care environments. The security staff of the facility must be aware of this and know how to handle these relationships appropriately.
- Resident and Family Aggression
Security staff should be trained in crisis prevention in order to deal effectively with combative residents and their families. Security staff should know and use approved, specialized restraint techniques.
- Elopement and Wandering
Security staff should be aware of how to eliminate elopements. They should be trained specifically in elopement response and prevention. Systems should be in place to monitor movement and warn of unauthorized movement both within the facility and on facility grounds.
- Investigation of Incidents
Security staff should have in place policies and procedures for documenting incidents and outcomes that are HIPAA approved and protect privacy and confidentiality.
- Emergency Response
Security staff should be trained in prevention of fires. They should also be trained in emergency response and evacuation.
- Knowledge of Resident Care and Needs
Security staff should know resident care categories and medical, as well as care differences for each resident. Additionally, they should know security needs and appropriate approaches for each resident and situation.
- Prevention and Investigation of Criminal Acts
Criminal acts are, hopefully, a rare occurrence within an elder care facility. Nevertheless, security personnel should be trained on handling and reporting criminal acts should they occur.
Facility Security - Staffing Approach
Staffing policies should be tailored to the elder care facility’s security needs. Staff assignments should be based on determined areas of vulnerability, as well as security requirements.
- Staff training must be directed at understanding the sensitive needs of facility residents, visitors, and healthcare staff.
- Staff must be made familiar with the regulations and directives of the facility.
- The facility should have personnel that are IAHSS certified and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), and NIMS (National Incident Management System) trained.
A senior care facility’s security policies and guidelines should be unique to the facility and should account for the configuration of the existing physical plant, availability of funding, staffing, and the community environment in which the facility is located. Security effectiveness should be evaluated quarterly and changes made as necessary.
If the elder care facility has a foundation of basic security principles, it can become an exceptionally safe and secure home for residents and an equally secure workplace for the facility’s staff. At Highland Risk Services, we understand the unique security needs of senior care facilities and are ready to assess the insurance needs of your clients. Please contact us by calling one of our two offices in Chicago at 847-832-9100 or Lansing at 517-676-7100.