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Abstract While hospital shootings are not commonplace, studies suggest they are happening with increasing frequency, and that EDs are particularly vulnerable to this type of violence. Researchers report that roughly a third of all hospital shootings occur in the emergency setting. Experts say such incidents are typically targeted events, not random acts. Consequently, effective security programs should emphasize preventive steps to defuse potentially volatile situations and prevent weapons from entering the facility. Hospital security departments should be equipped to provide training to employees throughout the facility so that employees know how to respond if an active shooter is identified. Researchers report that between 2000 and 2012 there were 154 shootings in American hospitals, and that the frequency of these events increased markedly in the later years of the study. Experts say hospital shootings may involve disgruntled patients, dementia patients, or psychiatric patients, but the most common perpetrators are prisoners who are brought into the hospital for treatment under guard. Security experts say effective safety plans should focus on identifying threatening language or other signs of agitation early on so that interventions can be employed. They also advise hospitals to install gun lockers at every entrance point so that lawful weapons can be stored before owners enter the facility. Liberalized gun laws in some regions are making security more difficult at public hospitals. Also, hospitals need to be careful with surveillance activities that could raise privacy concerns.
This article was published in ED Manag
and referenced in Advanced Practices in Nursing