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By Cindy Juhas | September 12, 2017

Smooth edges and rounded corners may seem like minor design details but they can mean the difference between life and death for some patients. Designers of behavioral healthcare centers (BHC) require such forethought to create a safe environment for patients and caregivers, alike.

In the medical industry, the changing regulatory environment often presents challenges across the supply chain. At CME, we are accustomed to addressing these changes frequently and are dedicated to sharing helpful insights with our customers.

As of March 1, 2017, the Joint Commission Accreditation assessments for behavioral healthcare (BHC) have been modified, effective immediately. The new guidance emphasizes the assessment of ligature, suicide and self-harm observations in psychiatric hospitals and inpatient psychiatric patient areas in general hospitals. 

BHC is increasingly a part of national dialogue and the “Zero Suicide” campaign by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is working to eliminate suicides in healthcare facilities. In fact, the commission’s database lists suicide among the top five sentinel events that healthcare facilities face.

Facilities can play a large part in reducing the chance of suicide by eliminating unnecessary environmental risks that provide the means and opportunities for patients to harm themselves. Design requirements for BHC facilities have not been subject to this level of scrutiny before the new guidance, and CME expects the updated requirements to have a significant impact on future Joint Commission Accreditation reviews for BHC facilities. 

It is imperative that supply chain professionals understand the ways in which this change could impact purchase considerations for BHC settings. Luckily, there are a variety of product solutions for BHC facilities that fit into the commission’s new requirements.

product solutions for bhc

The Facility Guidelines Institute, an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing guidance for the planning, design, and construction of hospitals, outpatient facilities, and residential health, care, and support facilities recently released a revised version of its Behavioral Health Design Guide which provides specific information on outfitting BHC spaces.

It recommends asking these basic questions when designing a BHC unit:

  • Could a patient be hurt by a particular element of the environment? Could that element be used to harm someone else?

  • Can staff easily navigate the environment to get to patients in need of assistance?

  • Is it possible to maintain patient privacy in this environment?

  • Is the environment respectful and therapeutic — one that will contribute to recovery?

Being cognizant of BHC design not only impacts patient safety, it can also have a significant effect on financial resources. Budgeting for equipment without understanding the safety implications can cause redundancies and increase the cost of outfitting the BHC facility. Budgeting, designing, and purchasing equipment with safety guidelines in mind allow a facility to allocate funds appropriately and reduce hazardous situations as well as the liability that can accompany them. 

As a national distributor of healthcare equipment, CME offers a wide selection of products that meet the varying needs of today’s healthcare facilities in the BHC space.

So what product characteristics do you look for in outfitting a BHC area?

One of our partners, Norix, is a leading provider of BHC furniture solutions that are specially designed for facilities looking to create safe and secure environments. Norix offers products that are designed after consultation with field-experienced practitioners, well-versed in safety requirements for patients and staff. These professionals analyze each product from a suicide-prevention angle to ensure that customers receive the safest and most effective equipment. Norix’s furniture is also easy to clean, tamper proof and resistant to chemicals and fluids.

Contact CME to learn more about our products that are suited specifically for the BHC environment. Visit our website or call us at 800.338.2372.

Read our blog about Healthcare Equipment Specialists Who They Are What They Do

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About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipment, turnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers.

With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.

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