Constructing a Safe, Private Behavioral Health Bathroom

Behavioral Health Bathrooms Need Plenty of Planning

toggle-switch-to-safety-277x300Helping people with mental and behavioral issues recover and get back on track is a constant challenge. Doctors and facility managers alike have to balance the need for normalcy with patient protection. Careful surveillance and safe furnishings don’t have to make your patients feel uncomfortable. Extra consideration has to be taken when designing the bathroom of a patient’s room because over three-fourths of all suicides in a behavioral health facility take place in the bathroom or bedroom, according to Behavioral Healthcare. (http://www.behavioral.net/article/bathrooms-balance-comfort-safety)

Select Fixtures Without Anchor Hanging Points

Designing the room to be free of anchor points ensures that suicidal patients are just as safe in your facility as people with no risk of self-harm. An anchor point is any hook, protrusion, ledge, or handle that a patient can use to provide tension for a noose. When selecting a soap dispenser for your bathroom, we recommend the OPS 1-Touch. This fixture is attractive and sleek, but the seamless design won’t give users a place to tie strips of fabric. The OPS 1-Touch  also bolts onto the wall with eight points of security. This prevents users from easily taking the device off the wall and using it for self-harm.

Eliminate the Bathroom Door

Most modern facilities focus on single rooms for patients to help them speed up recovery. Spending time alone can be very important if the patient is struggling with anxiety or social issues. In this setup, you can eliminate the bathroom door for added safety. Behavioral Healthcare recommends ball latches or hidden hinges if you choose to add a door. (http://www.behavioral.net/article/bathrooms-balance-comfort-safety) Recessed handles also increase safety by eliminating the most common anchor points. Soft or padded doors are also recommended, especially for high-risk rooms.

On a Tight Budget, Consider A Smart Use of Covers and Enclosures

You cannot always afford to replace hundreds of toilets while retrofitting everything else in the room. If you have fixtures that need to stay that have exposed handles or plumbing, then invest in metal cages that lock around the items. These enclosures keep patients from misusing the equipment while allowing them to flush freely.

Design Better Showers

Shower curtains simply will not work in behavioral health centers, and glass or Plexiglas walls are not great options either. Designing the entire bathroom to drain is far better, according to Behavioral Healthcare. (http://www.behavioral.net/article/bathrooms-balance-comfort-safety?page=2) If water splashes out of the open shower enclosure, then it can drain right away in a centrally located opening. Just pick moisture resistant tiles for the floor and run them up the walls at least to the chair rail height to keep splashes from wetting the walls.

For more information on creating a safe, private behavioral health bathroom environment, contact the experts at www.vandalproof.org today.

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