Securing mental health facilities involves protecting the physical environment and the staff and patients' comfort, according to an article on the EHS website.
Screening for contraband was traditionally done either by pat-down or with a hand-held wand, but these have been proven ineffective as a primary screening tool. Also, some healthcare providers believe these measures exacerbate patient anxiety.
A potentially better screening practice is a ferromagnetic detection systems (FMDS). FMDS uses passive sensors that evaluate disturbances in the earth’s magnetic field made by something magnetic moving through its detection zone. Everything else is invisible to it; it doesn’t see people, clothing, backpacks, purses, etc., the article said.
Nothing can be used to shield the contraband or ferrous metal item, because FMDS doesn’t detect metallic mass; it detects a magnetic signature. It can provide security screening for patients checking in for the first time as well as those with day-pass privileges returning from a day away from the facility. Its portability allows staff to take it throughout a facility to perform searches inside a patient’s room or for cause whenever and wherever needed.