Since the official onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, our nation has endured terrible loss, panic, financial hardship and stress. Since the initial discovery of the virus in Wuhan, China in January 2020, the total number of cases in the United States reached 12,028,081 with deaths totaling 255,076. Healthcare systems have faced a considerable strain on resources, staff and patient capacity, requiring layoffs, furloughs and advanced adjustments in many areas of operations. Likewise, security officers in healthcare settings have been forced to step into new roles in order to ease the pressure on healthcare professionals.
As many facilities find themselves on the brink of fully reopening services, they must face the reality of a nation still changed. High levels of public anxiety stemming from unemployment and health risks are rising as the world remains in a state of shock. Many hospitals are recovering from layoffs, pay cuts and personal protection or safety issues, making it critical for employees to be fully present as they strive to improve patient experience. Consequently, a study conducted by Revive Health found that over 60% of consumers will have concerns about seeking medical care, even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. A third of those surveyed will only seek care if they believe they have a serious health issue.
This introduces a unique situation for healthcare security officers to respond to. As patients and staff rebuild their trust and full reliance on the healthcare system, hospitals must continue to present a safe, reliable environment for all. New York City Health + Hospitals (NYC H + H), the nation’s largest municipal health system, is prioritizing the psychological safety of patients and staff, “encourag[ing] transparency, trust and wellness in frontline staff.” Their leadership recognized the “insurmountable grief, anxiety and stress from the burden and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic,” affirming their awareness of what they refer to as the ‘parallel pandemic.’ As healthcare leaders look to protect psychological safety in their staff, they must also consider physical safety, emphasizing the need for security officers for added protection and peace of mind.
Consumer behavior will undoubtedly drive a resurgence in the healthcare industry, as discussed in a recent article by Deloitte, demanding that providers help patients changing needs and provide proper care. The distressed nature of most consumers responding to the stressors of COVID-19 also makes it difficult for healthcare professionals to perform their jobs effectively. The security industry has an opportunity to fill in the gaps in patient experience and promote holistic and efficient safety measures. With patients grappling for attention and explanations, security officers will continue to be responsible for stepping in to redirect disruptive behavior and diffuse tense situations. Many healthcare teams are seeking to address workforce strategies and scenario planning that ensure the safety and satisfaction of everyone who steps foot within the facility.
Healthcare leaders must be mindful of lessons learned as a result of these recent events and move forward with positive changes and investments that could help their facility prepare for the shape and form healthcare will take in the coming months. The addition of security officers makes it possible for healthcare facilities and organizations to be a step ahead of the threat of violent disruption, criminal activity or continued COVID-19 precautions.
To learn more about our capabilities and how you can get a head start on hiring security for your medical facility, call us at 877-766-4610.