As a Corporate Trainer at IMS, patient security systems is my speciality. I have spent many years training and educating nurses, managers, and security personnel on various patient security components to keep patients safe. So when I see a hospital pull it all together, I want to shout “Kudos” from the rooftop. Today’s blog begins with a story about a hospital that did it right and the keys to their success!


This is a true story. Only the names have been changed to comply with HIPPA. In my role as a Corporate Trainer, I was talking to the Nurse Manager on duty at the Nurse’s station in the OB Department when a Hugs Tamper alarm occurred.   I witnessed the following first hand:

Excellent Understanding

As soon as the alarm sounded (lights, chimes, and repeated annunciation at the computer) a hospital staff member used the Hugs computer to determine who was involved (room #, family name, and gender). A quick glance at the alarm page also provided a map and description of the patient in need. The staff had a clear understanding of what to do.

Clear Communication

The nurse gave instructions at the Hugs computer; “Becky was discharging the Jones girl in room 320 – please go there and verify the baby is safe.” All available staff members were then deployed to monitor exits until the baby’s safety was confirmed. Once they knew the baby was safe, an alarm note was entered clearing the alarm. Everyone was properly communicated to and knew their role.

Planned Response

What was the cause of the Tamper alarm? The nurse discharging the “Jones” baby got ahead of herself and forgot to discharge the infant before removing the Hugs security band. She then entered the appropriate note into the computer which read, “Forgot to discharge before removing band”. Not realizing the event was due to user error, the security officers had initiated the next stage of security. Two officers from the security team then responded to the tamper alarm (by remote annunciation) in the security office. They asked the appropriate questions to verify the safety of the patient and staff. Upon returning to the security office, the officers logged the event in their records.

This string of events, including the security response team’s arrival, unfolded within a matter of minutes of the original alarm sounding. I couldn’t have been more proud of their response.  Though adrenalin tends to flow in an event like this resulting in missed or forgotten procedures, the hospital staff was able to utilize the Hugs system with confidence and composure. A patient security system is an investment in patient protection and customer satisfaction, and when used correctly stops a NEVER event (something that should not happen in a hospital) from happening.

 Three Keys To Effectively Using A Patient Security System:

  1. High Quality Systems The hospital mentioned above purchased what was recently referred to as the “Cadillac” of systems; Hugs by Stanley Healthcare. IMS has installed Patient Security Systems in over 330 Hospitals
  2. Well Trained, Trustworthy Staff That same hospital invested in the training of staff while setting high standards focused on patient security.
  3. Clearly Stated Policies and Procedures The policies and procedures regarding system alarms were adhered to as a result of proper instruction and practice.
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