Healthcare workers face numerous workplace threats to their physical safety and mental wellness. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed many areas in which doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers lack the tools and resources they need to stay safe on the job. Employees in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities often experience work-related emergencies and lack the means to prevent, report and respond to them effectively.
Healthcare facilities must take steps to create a safe environment for their employees. Employers must ensure that their workers feel safe at work and have reliable access to emergency alerts and time-sensitive notifications. Additionally, organizations must develop thorough, effective emergency response plans for all types of potential crises, from fires and IT outages to active shooter situations.
Crisis situations can happen without any warning, and the consequences for patients, healthcare workers and organization stakeholders can be severe. While it’s not possible to eliminate the threat of severe weather, unplanned outages, fires or workplace violence, a comprehensive preparedness plan can help mitigate the negative outcomes.
By preparing employees to recognize, report and respond to emergency situations, healthcare organizations can reduce the financial and human costs of crisis situations. Emergency preparedness is all about planning ahead: developing procedures to facilitate a fast, proportional response to any situation. Fire and active shooter drills can ensure employees know exactly how to react in a crisis.
Reporting is another key aspect of emergency preparedness. Doctors, nurses and administrators must be able to quickly notify first responders of a fire or violent attack. Employees should also have the ability to anonymously report suspicious behavior or unsafe situations to key authorities without worrying about reprisal. Medical institutions can encourage patients and visitors to utilize fire alarms and other reporting tools to alert administrators of a crisis.
Reliable emergency notifications
Every organization must prepare for crisis situations, but emergencies can have severe repercussions for healthcare institutions. A crisis in a hospital or medical facility can threaten patients and visitors along with employees, especially if alert and response protocols are inadequate.
Fast, comprehensive communication can minimize the effects of a fire, power outage, natural disaster or violent attack. Healthcare organizations must have a reliable system for notifying affected individuals of an emergency and providing them with crucial information and instructions.
Traditional emergency alert systems, such as fire alarms and automated phone trees, are important, but they don’t address all the threats facing healthcare institutions. For example, an on-campus fire alarm can’t warn nurses out on home visits to avoid returning until the situation is resolved. Likewise, a traditional phone tree (or even an automated one) doesn’t help workers who can’t answer their phones immediately.
To be effective, an emergency mass notification system must be able to reach recipients through several modes of communication: phone, email, desktop notifications and SMS text. Incorporating digital signage and social media alerts can ensure that visitors and local residents are also informed of emergency situations impacting the availability of healthcare services.
Workplace violence prevention and response
Nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals face a high threat of violence on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the healthcare industry shows the highest rates of injuries caused by workplace violence. Healthcare workers are five times more likely to be injured in a violent incident on the job than workers overall.
A 2020 study showed that approximately half of nurses experience physical violence (44.4%) or verbal abuse (67.8%) at work. In many cases, visitors or patients are the perpetrators of workplace violence, but healthcare institutions also experience attacks by intruders and active shooters.
Healthcare institutions can help protect their people by increasing security personnel and improving internal communication. It’s also crucial to ensure that every worker has the ability to quickly report an attack or dangerous situation. Mobile-based reporting tools ensure that workers can quickly report an emergency and connect to 9-1-1 no matter where they are, which is especially important for lone workers (e.g., home healthcare professionals).
Create a safe environment for healthcare workers
Rave Mobile Safety’s critical communications platform provides healthcare organizations with the tools they need to keep their employees safe and informed. Our FedRAMP-authorized mass notifications system is easy to use, allowing administrators to send multichannel alerts in just three clicks.
We also offer emergency preparedness solutions, including a secure online platform where administrators can store documents, including safety plans and response protocols. Authorized users can access these documents from anywhere and share them with first responders and 9-1-1 to facilitate a collaborative, cohesive response. Our software features a user-friendly dashboard that allows administrators to quickly view, assign and track tasks for better safety and compliance.
Finally, healthcare workers can use our mobile safety app to protect themselves and quickly report emergencies. Anonymous text-to-tip technology encourages users to proactively report threats. Two-way communication features allow managers to check in with team members to verify their safety and provide critical instructions for returning to work following a crisis. HR representatives can also send workers crucial wellness tips and mental health resources.
From multichannel emergency alert systems to emergency collaboration tools, Rave Mobile Safety helps administrators prepare for, respond to and recover from crises. To learn more about our healthcare communication solutions, contact our team.