How many of you have spent time in a hospital or nursing home recently? Many of you work in the health care industry, others visit friends or family who are sick, and some of us are sick or undergoing routine procedures. Hospitals and nursing homes are becoming more and more crowded and the personal security of patients, visitors and workers should be a main concern.
A 72-year-old man, waiting in City General Hospital for routine surgery to repair a hernia, decided to take a short walk around his hospital floor. When he returned to his room, all his personal valuables had disappeared, including his wallet, credit cards, watch, gold ring, keys and even dentures. He immediately reported the theft to the nurse, who summoned hospital security.
This excerpt was taken from "How to Protect Yourself From Crime" by Ira A Lipman and it describes what millions of hospital patients, visitors, and workers experience each year.
We tend to feel a false sense of security in these types of health care settings. In fact, statistics show that hospitals and nursing homes are anything but safe. Most operate 24/7 year round, that in itself presents a huge security problem. Most have large amounts of traffic coming and going through unlocked and unsupervised doors. Most patients are unable to provide personal security for themselves because they are too sick and weak to move, walk or talk. The workers are also very much at risk, over 75% of health care workers are female and during the night shift over 95% of the workforce is female! Believe me when I tell you that criminals are aware of this.
What you end up with is an environment that is very attractive to criminals. Personal property of patients and workers, the potential for rape or sexual assault of female workers and patients, theft of prescription drugs, and burglary or robbery of unsuspecting victims in areas such as a parking lot or garage.
Studies conducted by the International Association for Hospital Security and Safety (IAHS) found theft to be the most prominent crime and high estimates show over $2500 in theft annually per hospital bed. Nearly 6 billion dollars are lost on average each year as a result of crime in health care institutions.
Awareness is key to protecting yourself, family and friends in hospitals and nursing homes. Whether you work, stay or visit consider added personal protection in the form of personal alarms or self defense pepper spray and Mace.