Attacks on staff at Cox Medical Center in Brandon, Missouri have nearly tripled since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and so the hospital has decided to issue panic buttons to nurses and hundreds of other workers in inpatient wards and intensive care units.
Altogether, some 400 frontline workers will receive grant-funded buttons that, when pressed, will immediately send a signal to security and activate a signal source tracking system that directs security guards to help an at-risk worker. The system, which was successfully tested last year at CoxHealth’s Springfield office, will be operational by the end of this year, hospital administration spokesman Caitlin McConnell said. “Personal panic buttons are another tool in the fight to keep our staff safe,” the hospital’s chief of safety and security said in a statement.
According to official figures, the total number of “security incidents” increased from 94 in 2019 to 162 in 2020 (data for 2021 is not yet available). The number of attacks increased from 40 to 123 over the same period, and the number of injuries to caregivers increased from 17 to 78.
Problems with ensuring the safety of personnel arise in other medical institutions of the country and the world. In September, the Texas Tribune reported an increase in the number of attacks on hospital workers in Texas, which, according to the administration of these institutions, is associated with an increase in the number of hospitalizations due to the spread of the Delta variant. Geneva-based nonprofit Insecurity Insight has partnered with the University of California Center for Human Rights to identify 1,100 threats or violent attacks against healthcare facilities and their workers, and about 400 of these attacks are linked to the coronavirus pandemic.