This project was initiated in early 2017 in recognition that staff at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s Emergency Department’s reception area is extremely vulnerable to acts of violence. Factors contributing to an emergency department’s heightened risk of violence include: staff stress, long wait times, lack of visible security staff, substance abuse, mental illness, distressed patients and families, and being always open for business. Few other environments have this level of volatility. Furthermore, two recent highly-publicized events at the medical center have elevated concern.
To mitigate the impact of violence, this project was initiated to redesign the lobby and waiting room to protect staff from acts of physical violence, to secure the perimeter of the Emergency Department, and to accomplish these goals while creating a safe and welcoming environment for patients, staff, and visitors. The construction project will start in early 2019.