When my daughter was in her pre-teens, some strange physical things began to happen to her. She started coming home and reported that she was feeling weak. She was stumbling and having problems getting up the steps on the bus. If she had to sit on the floor, it was difficult to get up. We listened to her, and thought it was because she was growing, and her muscles were developing. It wasn’t until a family trip to the ocean when I was playing with her in the waves and saw she could not stand when hit by a wave. I understood there was a bigger problem. The enemy was not a young girl growing up, it was a greater threat.
It took many months to uncover this enemy, but eventually found she had an autoimmune disease that affects her muscles. The disease presents both in muscle weakness, but also in the skin. Since she is a red head with freckles and fair skin, the skin affliction went unnoticed. We discovered just in time that my daughter’s body was attacking itself. Then the battle began figuring out the right drugs to fight her enemy. Over the years, we have learned this enemy is tricky and hard to fight.
How does my daughter's battle apply to your healthcare facility and your role in the industry?
The message is simple, know the enemy and do not fall into a false sense of security like my wife and I did with our daughter. At IMS, we have prided ourselves on protecting the most innocent but have worked with facilities that fail to understand who the enemy really is. They may have read what a typical abductor is, but they fail to identify how truly motivated and emotionally involved the typical abductor is.
I have heard from many facilities that having a locked unit is sufficient protection against an abduction. However, in most cases a locked unit means locked only when coming into the unit, not locked when leaving the unit. This is not only a burden on the staff to buzz visitors into the unit, but it is very easy to defeat by “piggybacking” in or following someone into the unit once the door is open. Once in, it's very easy to get out. On the rare cases that the unit is locked when leaving the unit, again this is a burden on the staff to always buzz visitors out, and with high traffic, again an abductor could follow someone out an open door.
A few years ago, I spent time with a representative from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She interviewed women in prison who had been involved in abductions. She said they indicated they would go to Obstetrics departments and look at the newborn babies, dreaming of their own. The point that flipped the switch for them to abduct a baby was when they saw the reactions of the families seeing the baby for the first time. They wanted the attention, and the love. They would do anything to have that.
The key to understanding these potential abductors is to understand their emotional involvement. They are committed to getting a baby and will not go about it in a normal way. They are highly motivated, but in the wrong frame of mind. This demands not just a great nursing staff, and locks on the doors, but a system with layers of protection that can help fight against this unpredictable emotional enemy.
IMS believes that the Hugs System offers those needed layers of protection to fight against that unpredictable enemy, a potential abductor. It does so while also minimizing the burden on your staff and keeping patients safe. We have been providing hospitals with this system since 1999 and have over 330 systems installed. If you think it's time to consider a Hugs System as a proper defense against abductions, call IMS today.