Batson Children's Hospital will be adding additional security measures in 2016 to increase safety and privacy for patients and their families.
Entrance doors to children's floors two through seven will be locked. Badge readers will allow employees access those floors, and cameras will allow staff to see those seeking entry.
Installation of the new equipment will begin in mid-January, said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children's of Mississippi, the organization that oversees pediatric care at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“We looked at Batson Children's Hospital security compared to security at other children's hospitals and saw we had an opportunity to improve,” Giesecke said. “Our focus is to keep our patients and families as safe as possible.”
Families, employees and visitors have no gateway to access inpatient floors now, but by February or March, employee badges for staff members and armbands for families and caregivers of patients will be required for admission to floors, said Michelle Palokas, director of nursing services at Batson Children's Hospital.
“This is something we need to do,” she said, “for the safety and protection of our patients and families.”
The badge readers will be located beside the entrance on each floor. Once the new security measures are in place, those visiting Batson Children's Hospital patients will buzz in to reach nursing staff, who can view persons seeking access on video at computers at the nurses' desk. It is up to parents and caregivers as to whether they allow visitors inside.
If visitors are allowed in, parents or caregivers are to escort them to their hospital rooms and back to the door of the floor once the visit is over.
There are times, said Palokas, when patients and families are not up to seeing visitors. “This allows families to choose when they would like visitors and when they need to rest and recharge,” she said.
Palokas said the new measures will mimic those at the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
UMMC employees who need to work on Batson Children's Hospital floors should have access allowed on their employee ID badges. No action by those staff members should be required.
While there may be a period of adjustment as these measures are rolled out, Giesecke said he hopes employees and families will be patient and will understand the motivation behind the changes. “We want to provide safety and security for those children and families we serve.”