search me!

  1. Hi all,

    I am trying to see how far others go with a patient search for contraband. What do you do, how far do you search, what area are you working in (inpatient, ed, outpatient)

    Do you have/use metal detecters/wands?

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!

  2. Visit ear profile page

    About ear, ADN

    Joined: Dec '04; Posts: 152; Likes: 25


  3. by   K+MgSO4
    are you talking drugs alcohol weapons?

    We can only search if there is indication to.
  4. by   ear
    I am talking about psychiatric units....

    All contraband, drugs, weapons, alcohol, items that can be used as weapons....

    What are your indicators for search?
  5. by   K+MgSO4
    Sorry I work emergency surgery. If it was self harm or involved in assault on another we search or if we have suspicion.
  6. by   gatigress
    I work in an inpatient psychiatric facility. We have a detox unit as well as a general psych unit. We wand a patient when they come in the door. Once they are in a more private area, we have the patient take their clothes off and put a gown on and do a visual inspection for contraband. (checking pockets and sems of clothing etc). If a problem arises once the patient has been admitted to the unit, we can get a Dr order and perform another check for contraband which basically is repeating the admission process and then checking the room thoroughly.
  7. by   Meriwhen
    I work in psych facilities.

    Inpatient and emergency: They are put through a metal detector and/or wanded when they first enter the facility. If they are admitting to the unit, a full search down to the skin is performed by two staff (at least one of which is the same gender as the patient). This includes removal of underwear because you'd be surprised what patients try to bring in via their undergarments. I haven't yet had to search a body cavity, and hope I really won't ever have to.

    Techs and/or nurses can do the search. In addition to searching for contraband, we are also assessing for injuries, scars, tattoos and other markings that will be documented.

    Clothing and belongings are also thoroughly searched. We'll search what the patient is wearing while we are performing the body check. Belongings that they brought in will be searched after the patient is secured on the unit.

    The initial searches are part of the admission process: they are covered under the admission orders, and no separate order is needed. Should we have reason to suspect that they have something on their person/in their belongings after admission and initial search, then we need a MD order for a second search.

    Outpatient: we generally don't search them unless we have cause to.
  8. by   cfaith
    In patient psych hospital setting: Pt must change in to scrubs in admissions/screening where all clothes which will be taken to the ward are hand screached. Only five outfits , underclothes , socks etc are allowed. All other clothes & luggage are sealed in plastic bags labled and returned only after exiting the building at the time of discharge. All patients submit to a UDS on admission and if any reason to think they may have used for admission..... if there is reason to believe the patient has contraband lighter/matches, cigarettes &/or weapons or items that could be used as a weapon a search is completed if the patietn does not volunteer th item. My faclitiy completes 2or three post admission searchs/month.
  9. by   Orca
    We had a female patient who came to us for detox from opiates. She had a prosthesis for a BKA. The tech said that she seemed very protective of the prosthesis. When we searched it, she had approximately 60 Lortab hidden inside it.
  10. by   Halle396
    I'm a RN in an acute psych facility. I think that it is extremely important to search EVERY patient on admission!! Although they are each wanded when they come through the door, this can miss things. We have them go to a room and remove all clothing. This is an external viewing of their body. In addition to searching for items; we also are marking down all scars, scratches, cuts, burns, bruises, tattoos, & etc. We search and wash everything they are wearing & all clothes they brought with them. This is to hopefully destroy any pills or drugs they may have sewn into their clothing.

    I have personally found pills taped under breasts & bellies, lighters, matches, needles, inhalers, razor blades, and even a knife once during the safety check. And this was all after the "wanding".

    If facilities aren't doing this now, then they should definitely step it up. We do this for every patient. I know that it's hard to believe that a 65 year old granny would come toting pills or marijuana, but you would be surprised! Psych patients are mentally unstable. They are sometimes impulsive, oppositional, drug addicted, or just plain scared they won't get their benzos that they have relied on for twenty years. Best to check everyone and everything they bring along thoroughly to ensure their safety as well as your own.
  11. by   Hygiene Queen

    We do not use wands or metal detectors of any kind.

    Nursing staff has always been frustrated that there is no type of search beyond a body check and a search for contraband within personal items... but we have no clue what the pt might actually have on them.

    Why don't we have that????

    They already took away our nighttime security guards who would watch us go to our cars at night!

    We have expressed fears of a pt walking onto the unit with a gun... I mean, what are we going to do about that?

    I think I'm going to talk to my peers tomorrow and see if we can't push for some sort of metal detectors.

    Unfortunately, we are at a more ritzy hospital in an affluent area, so someone is bound to offended, but money has nothing to do with any of it, and our pts come from all over... and you just don't know!!