National Hospital Week – Honoring Our Safety & Security Department

National Hospital Week, May 10-16

National Hospital Week 2020 celebrates every hospital system, health facility and individual committed to keeping our communities safe and healthy.

Southcoast Health is proud to honor the role of healthcare security and safety professionals in serving our hospital systems, healthcare facilities, patients, staff and visitors – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The past several weeks have been like none before, says Craig Forcina, Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management.

Each morning, he reviews emails and security and administrative reports before joining the daily COVID-19 Command Center call. During that morning discussion, which takes place seven days a week, Southcoast Health leaders identify and determine what is mission-critical for the day to support the needs of our patients and staff.

From there, Forcina works with his managers and supervisors to keep the entire Southcoast Security team updated and on track with safety as our driving force. During the COVID-19 crisis, safety and security have become ever more heightened, requiring action on multiple fronts.

“We have over 90 security, safety and emergency preparedness professionals working at the three hospitals and other sites. They are instrumental in supporting all operations,” Forcina says. “They are doing incredible work on the frontlines and behind the scenes during this pandemic and have done so with courage, empathy and grace.”

Southcoast’s Security Officers are on the frontlines working in the emergency departments, main entrances, parking lots and elsewhere working to keep everyone safe. Security is working side by side with clinical teams in high-risk areas, employing de-escalation skills and interventions to ensure safe patient care and management. Valet staff members have been of great assistance throughout this challenging time, interacting with our patients and ensuring their safe arrival and departure from the hospitals and the off-site testing location.

Additionally, Security leaders are managing increased staffing demands, leveraging technology to help with lockdowns, coordinating ongoing access requests for the protection of PPE and other critical supplies, all while continuing to handle day-to-day operations and investigations throughout the Southcoast system.

“Because of the virus, we’re tightly controlling access into our hospitals and facilities for everyone’s safety. Points of entry have been limited. We’re monitoring and managing access to the hospitals 24/7. To improve our monitoring capabilities, we’ve added some physical controls such as card readers, cameras and AIPHONES (intercom systems),” Forcina says.

“We are also supporting the off-site testing center at the Ambulatory Surgical Center (300D Faunce Corner) and tents that have been set up for each hospital. And we help to manage safe passage for patients and the safeguarding of staff and equipment,” he adds.

Security will also have a presence at the 98-bed UMass-Dartmouth field hospital, if needed, with an increased focus on life safety, supporting all operations, and coordination/liaison with UMASS campus police and the Dartmouth Fire Department.

“Southcoast has also been building a new emergency notification system that will soon be operational. And we continue to upgrade our system-wide access control system. It has really been remarkable how everyone has managed to stay focused during this public health emergency and fast-track these exciting improvements to the organization,” Forcina says.

“This crisis has shown and reminds us daily that we work as a team and that everyone plays a key role in supporting the Southcoast mission. These men and women play an integral role every day to keep us safe. I’m thankful we have such great staff doing their best to support all normal and pandemic operations.”