A North Carolina hospital system is installing metal detectors, limiting elevator access in specific areas within its facility, and hiring armed guards to keep watch in its emergency rooms in the wake of incidents ranging from an armed patient roaming the halls to a distraught mother barricading herself and her son (a patient) in a hospital room. While it’s laudable that they’re doing what they feel is necessary to keep patients and staff safe, such moves illustrate the potential dangers of large, open-access medical facilities. At the same time, those measures can give the impression that patients have much to fear when they go to the ED—beyond whatever complaints brought them there. If those complaints are less than life- or limb-threatening, it’s likely they could be getting the appropriate level of care in much less stress-inducing environments, such as urgent care. Bear this in mind both when marketing in areas where hospital systems may have had violent or volatile incidents, and in creating a welcoming space that puts patients at ease. It may help them not only feel better after your care, but feeling good just by walking through the door.
Measures to Keep Emergency Rooms Safe and Secure May Drive Still More Patients to Urgent Care