Members of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professional at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, along with political allies Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and City Councilman David White, sounded the alarm last Wednesday, June 21 at a press conference concerning security deficiencies in the now for-profit Crozer Keystone Health System hospital. In response to the concerns raised by Whelan and White, Crozer Keystone has stated it will install a metal detector in the Emergency Room of Delaware County Memorial Hospital on July 1. To make the new security system more effective, the hospital will add another guard to the staffing compliment for security at all times.
“It is not uncommon for someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol to become violent in the emergency room. For this reason our nurses have a very difficult job, and it is important that they can focus on the good work they do without their safety being put in jeopardy,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. “When someone assaults a nurse, they are facing a felony charge. We have five hospitals here in Delaware County and our history has been one of aggressive prosecution for those individuals who attempt to harm one of our nurses. When it comes to protecting health care workers and nurses, administrators must make it clear that they won’t tolerate any violence against workers.”
“Workplace violence in the healthcare setting is on the rise. We are punched, kicked, shoved and threatened daily. Our hospitals must do a better job of preventing injury,” said PASNAP President Patty Eakin, a veteran ER nurse. “It’s inexcusable that a nurse or unit secretary can’t dial straight to 911 if a patient or visitor is behaving in a threatening manner. Our hospitals must do a better job in preventing injuries and protecting workers and patients, including having adequate staffing and a sufficient number of security personnel.”
While support of the District Attorney and the local police departments to Delaware County Memorial Hospital is essential in maintaining the security and safety of one of our community’s precocious most resources, it is the responsibility of the hospital to maintain a safe environment in their hospitals as well. The concerned parties hope to have discussions with the hospital system to ensure the safety of patients and employees while avoiding any undue financial stress to the taxpayers of the county.
The concerned parties ask for the following steps to be taken in order to continue working towards the highest standards in safety for our county residents and our community at large:
- Allow for employees to call 911 from units
- Training all employees for active threats on in the hospitals
- Training for nurses who are charged with care for mental health and detox patients
- Trained Mental Health Techs on units with psych patients and detox patients
- Limit visiting hours for patients
- Limit number of patients that can visit at once
- Involving nurses and technical employees in the plan to roll out safety measures
“As frontline healthcare professionals, nurses and techs put our lives on the line every day to protect our patients and provide high quality patient care,” said Angela Neopolitano, a 36-year veteran nurse at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “We are pleased that Crozer Keystone is taking steps to ensure our safety while we care for our vulnerable patients and we will continue to work to win safer working conditions for ourselves and the highest standards possible for patients in Delaware County.”