Safety is frequently considered as a human need wherein a person is free from injury both psychologically and physically. A great number of people go in and out of the hospital under the care of health care providers for the purpose of being treated and cared for. Thus, patient safety has been one of the top concerns of health care professionals throughout the years.
Nurses, they say, belong to a high-risk type of profession, which is because we deal with not just lifeless objects, but with actual lives of people. One wrong move from us may affect the health of a patient more than we ever know. Thus, a set of rules and standards of nursing practice and patient safety have been set for nurses to act as references ensuring quality nursing care being rendered to health clienteles.
However, not all recipients of health care are the same. Special cases also exist. Even though a number of patient safety risk factors that are present in medical settings are also applicable to mental health settings, still there are some unique patient safety issues in mental health that are not the same in medical care. Below are some safety precautions that psychiatric nurses must consider in mental units.
Providing a safe environment
- Remove extraneous equipment and supplies
- Provide a well-lit bath to bathroom
- Reduce likelihood of injury from fall.
- Open and close blinds, dim lights
- A person in seclusion and/or restraints must be observed and monitored every 15 minutes.
- Check extremities to make sure that they are not tight enough to restrict circulation
- Electrical units such as laptops and cellphones are prohibited.
- Check patient rooms day and night for contrabands
- Increase presence of family and friends to stay during periods of increased anxiety
- Encourage touch and eye contact
- Explain acute confusional state to family including transient nature of it.
- Encourage family to reorient to place and events.
- Explain procedures/ treatments and plan
- Acknowledge fears and feelings
- Guide with gentle prompting
- Give reassure appropriately
- Maintain eye contact
- Ambulate out of room daily, if appropriate
- Allow patient to sleep at night in at least 3 hour blocks
- Prevent too much sleep during day
- Escort patient for regular bathroom trips
- Call light within reach – remind of use
- Assess source of agitation
- Provide rest periods
- Pastoral counseling
- Occupy patient time with physical diversions such as snacks, puzzles, massage.
- Check a patient for unsafe objects before secluding them.