Button will be given to up to 400 employees
Cox Medical Center in Branson, Missouri, will begin issuing “personal panic buttons” to health care workers to help deal with the massive increase in violence against staff members over the past year.
The number of incidents at a Missouri hospital for which security was called to intervene increased from 94 in 2019 to 162 in 2020. During the same period, attacks inside the hospital increased from 40 to 123, while the number of injuries to health care workers increased from 17 to 17. 78.
Cox Medical Center plans to use $132,000 in grant money from Branson’s Skaggs Foundation, which includes buttons on ID badges for 400 staff members. The nonprofit helps support the health and wellness of the medical community in Missouri. In 2013 it merged with CoxHealth.
Several Missouri hospitals exceeded capacity as new COVID-19 cases surged due to the delta variant, including Branson Hospital, which has reached or exceeded capacity in the past four months.
Due to the strict hospital policy, families are often unable to visit sick patients, which increases the stress level.
CoxHealth’s director of safety and security, Alan Butler, told the AP that the panic button can only help “maintain a safe work and care environment.”
Jackie Gatz, vice president of safety and preparedness for the Missouri Hospital Association, said the panic button is just one step hospitals have taken to protect staff. Other measures to ensure employee safety include adding security cameras, equipping employees with body cameras, and even adding security dogs to a Springfield, Missouri, hospital. Training on how to ease distressed patients is also offered by the Missouri Hospital Association.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.