A ligature point is any environmental point that could be used to affix a ligature—that is, a noose or other strangulation device for purposes of self-harm or harm to others.
Ligature points are a big concern for hospital emergency departments (often the first stop for someone experiencing a mental health crisis), behavioral health facilities, and even drug and alcohol treatment centers.
Suicide-resistant products are an absolute must. It’s imperative. I’m so happy that the marketplace is starting to respond by creating ligature-resistant elements that have some familiarity with normalcy and that they’re not cold and institutional,” said McMurray.
I hope that our marketplace will continue to develop products that are ligature-resistant, but that also offer a therapeutic and restorative environment for these patients—a familiar environment.”— Kimberly McMurray, principal at Behavioral Health Facility Consulting (BHFC)
Many people, when thinking about potential ligature point hazards, tend to look upward. Yes, there are many ligature potentials high above the ground close to the ceilings. Still, there are hundreds of potential ligature points closer to the ground.
Ligature points can include bed frames, coat hooks, ceiling fittings, handrails, door handles, and even hinges. Bathrooms are also rife with potential hazards.
How Many Ligature Points Are in a Typical Patient Bathroom?
If you answered more than 20, you are correct!
In traditional bathroom applications, ligature points are more common than you might realize. The arrows in the image above indicate dangerous ligature points in a typical patient bathroom, including sinks, toilets, showers, drains, grab bars, faucets, towel hooks, and toilet paper dispensers.
One Room Meets All Requirements for All Patients
Patients presenting at healthcare facilities often have more than one health issue. It is widely known that the environment plays a significant role in the health and recovery of patients. New patients have enough on their minds without being placed in a room that has been obviously outfitted for their ability, size, or mental health status. Universal design avoids this by making all rooms the same, equally suitable for every patient, whether they require bariatric support, wheelchair accessibility, ligature resistance, or a need a combination of accessibility factors.
BestCare® products can be used in any patient room to meet all patient needs. Our products are ligature resistant, ADA compliant, bariatric-friendly, and meet aesthetic and security standards.
Why Choose BestCare Products?
We understand our industry’s needs.
Whitehall® BestCare products are designed to meet the unique application challenges faced by behavioral healthcare facilities seeking to maintain the balance between patient safety, security, and creating a non-institutional environment. In addition, all BestCare products are designed to ensure patient safety with aesthetics in mind.
Whitehall has always taken constructive criticism to heart and paid attention to what we were saying. As a result of that, they have designed great products. The focus groups you are putting together to develop new products are important; kudos to you for putting in time and effort into that.”— Alison Leonard, AIA EDAC, Cannon Design
Learn more about BestCare ligature-resistant plumbing products for healthcare by downloading our brochure (PDF).
Note: BestCare products are designed to decrease the probability of being used as an apparatus for ligature attachment. It is not a replacement for professionals trained in the proper evaluation, management, and supervision of persons at risk of suicide.
Additional Resources: American Society for Health Care Engineering Patient Safety Tools and Resources—Preventing Self Harm and Ligature Risks