Missouri hospital adds panic buttons to employee ID badges

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  • A Missouri hospital reported an increase in attacks on staff by patients in 2020.
  • By the end of the year, Cox Medical Center Branson will give 400 employees panic buttons.
  • The panic buttons will be on their ID cards and send a message to security for help.

A Missouri hospital is using grant money to attach panic buttons to the ID badges of its nurses and other workers after attacks on hospital staff escalated last year.

By the end of this year, staff working in the emergency room and inpatient rooms at Cox Medical Center Branson will be able to use a panic button that alerts security who can then track the location of the patient. employee, the establishment said in a Facebook ad.

In their post, the facility said assaults on staff by patients have tripled in the past year. The total number of assaults increased from 40 in 2019 to 123 in 2020. The total number of injuries increased from 17 in 2019 to 78 in 2020, the establishment said.

In the Facebook post, Alan Butler, director of the Public Safety and Security System, said buttons are a critical tool in combating assaults.

“When Public Safety’s response is critical and a phone cannot be accessed, people’s panic buttons fill a critical void,” Butler said. “Personal Panic Buttons (PPBs) are yet another tool in the battle to keep our staff safe and further demonstrate this organization’s commitment to maintaining a safe work and care environment.”

Ashley Blevins, a nurse at the hospital, told KYTV she has been “spat on, insulted” and even beaten by patients over the past year.

“It’s nice that we have the ability to push our button and security knows exactly where we are and if we have to pursue a patient they will know where our last location is,” Blevins told KYTV.

The Facebook post said the hospital system tested similar pimples at their hospital in Springfield, Missouri.

A report released in April by JAMA found that violence against healthcare workers has been on the rise for at least the past decade. In November 2020, a National Nurses United survey found that around 20% of 15,000 respondents said they had faced an increase in workplace violence.

Nurses attributed the rise in violence to “downsizing, changes in patient population and visitor restrictions.”

Cox Medical Center Branson also displays distress calls on the hospital’s nurse call system. So when an employee is assaulted in a room, the outside of the room will light up and a personalized tone will ring on designated nurse call consoles.

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