Special Needs Hospital Secured Inside, and Out

Find out how a local security provider installed an advanced video surveillance solution, among other security and life-safety systems at a psychiatric care center.

Patient Safety Guides CCTV Design

One of the first orders of business to decide in securing the facility was whether to go with an analog-based video surveillance solution or IP. Plans called for roughly 200 cameras to be mounted throughout the center’s interior as well as several exterior deployments. In the end, the analog vs. IP decision was an easy one to make based on a cost analysis and consideration for the project’s deadline.

Selling Into the Health-Care Market

Selling to health-care providers isn’t really that different from selling into any other vertical market with a few exceptions.

There is a wide range of application types that fit into the health-care category – from clinics to community hospitals, doctor’s offices and psychiatric care facilities. The requirements of the facility are often dependent on the type of services it provides. One that specializes in care for psychiatric patients is going to require a significantly higher level of security than a medical building housing multiple doctors’ offices.

In addition, each type of facility may have two different goals for its security system: protecting people and protecting property. The safety of staff and patients alike can be vulnerable in places like birthing and pediatric units, mental health areas, emergency rooms and parking lots. At the same time, it is important to protect property in areas like pharmacies, medical record storage units, laboratories, IT departments and payment locations.

Requirements may also be defined by the state or influenced by regulations. These include the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and its privacy, security and patient safety rules, or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which accredits and certifies health-care organizations.

If your prospective customer is a new health-care facility, it is likely the system you install will need to pass an audit for compliance of video camera coverage or access control. If an audit is not passed, the facility cannot open on time. So it is important to ensure you fully understand any regulations the facility must meet prior to designing the security system.

In general, video surveillance and access control systems tend to be the highest sought-after security technologies in healthcare facilities. And often, there is a need to integrate the two systems. Take the time to verify the systems you are implementing can be integrated in the future, even if the customer does not immediately require this capability.

Matt Thomas is General Manager of New/Era Sales Inc., a manufacturers’ representative for Bosch Security Systems’ video products in Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Ohio. He can be reached at [email protected]

“With this number of cameras going from floor to floor, the size of the conduit that would have been required if we’d gone with standard analog with a Siamese cable, and just the sheer struggle getting that cabling through the hospital, it just made sense to bring it all back to network closets,” says Randy Jarrell.

A.S.A.P. designed a solution using cameras, storage and video management software from Bosch Security Systems. To enhance the level of safety at the center, a separate network was deployed specifically to handle video surveillance and all other physical and electronic security needs.

The video system, which will scale in size in the coming years, includes NIN-733 Flexidome Starlight HD 720p models for the interior. The cameras are mounted in the pharmacy area, in hallways, on the interior and exterior of entranceways, as well as at elevator access points and in other non-private areas. With high sensitivity, the cameras allow for round-the-clock monitoring, even when lights are turned off to conserve energy in areas not actively being used. VG5-7000 Series pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) cameras provide coverage of external areas and parking lots. These cameras are actively monitored after hours to keep tabs on vehicles and pedestrian traffic in parking lots.

A.S.A.P. provided the electrical contractor with drawings that detailed end-to-end cabling. Fiber for the cameras was run between floors to PoE switches that have been housed in strategically placed network closets. A gaffe in the cabling drawings – especially in a secure ceiling area – was not an option.

“We needed to make sure we had the necessary cabling because once that secure ceiling went up it would have been a real challenge to go back and remove it to pull more cables,” Randy Jarrell says.

The fortified ceiling is necessary to prevent patients from removing ceiling tiles to attempt escape or conceal contraband. In fact, all electrical fixtures or anything else within reach of hospital residents had to be protected by tamper-proof security screws or other means. This safety concern especially affected camera mounts; only dome-type models were allowed in the psychiatric center. A.S.A.P. was not permitted to use any sort of mounting hardware that would protrude from a wall or ceiling.

“It required a different level of hardware and several considerations as far as camera location,” Randy Jarrell says. “Devices had to be installed in such a way that patients could not conceal them with articles of clothing or could not wrap anything around them [to prevent a suicide attempt by hanging].”

HD Video Centrally Monitored

The VMS from Bosch provides intuitive monitoring of live video in the security operations room and at 10 nurses’ stations located on the patient floors.

The security office – staffed by guards who monitor video around the clock – is outfitted with four 50-inch monitors and a pair of 32 inchers. Nurses on each patient floor have access only to the 15-20 cameras installed in their respective units. Video is recorded onto nine iSCSI-based DLA Series disk array appliances and stored for approximately 25 days.

“Whenever patients are in nonprivate areas, such as classrooms or activity rooms, a staff member is present,” says Casdorph. “The nurses on the floor are able to monitor these areas from the nurses’ station in case there are any issues that occur. This helps to improve patient and staff safety.”

Highland-Clarksburg Hospital’s renovation included new elevators, which made A.S.A.P.’s required use of a corner wedge camera in each car much easier. Because newer elevators are designed with the anticipation of surveillance camera deployment, the company utilized UTP wiring along with converters for each camera.

“Because the forensic patients are also going from floor to floor [under supervision], they need to monitor the elevators as well,” Renay Jarrell says.

Future plans for the surveillance system include the use of intelligent video analysis to proactively alert staff to potential risks. “I am very pleased with Bosch and all of the contractors responsible for the installation,” Casdorph says. “The system adds another set of eyes for the monitoring of patient and staff safety.”

Tagged with: Healthcare Market

About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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