What is Anti Ligature?
When planning the construction or anti ligature refurbishment of a bedroom or bathroom for patients suffering from mental illness, it is essential in the design process to eliminate points where a cord, rope, or bed sheet can be looped or tied to a fixture in order to create a point of ligature, which may result in self harm or in extreme cases, loss of life. Unfortunately, many items that would be considered standard for a bedroom or a bathroom pose a risk of ligature and alternate products must be used in order to achieve the same function, yet provide a safe environment for both patients and staff. There are a variety of ways in which we can safeguard against ligature in these areas. They are as follows;
Load Release Anti Ligature
The Kestrel load release system is a simple yet extremely effective way of reducing or eliminating ligature risks. The system is based around two patented magnetic brackets. These brackets will securely hold a range of items by powerful shortrange magnetic attraction. When an abnormal load is applied the magnetic force is overcome and releases its load. And it can do this time after time. There is no decline in performance and no mechanical restraint, nothing can jam, break or wear out. After an incident, all that is required is for the suspended item to be held immediately below the magnetic bracket or brackets. The magnetic force will then raise the item and reseat it in its correct position.
This system was originally developed to suspend curtain tracking in areas where patients are at risk of self-harm, however it is being continually developed and now incorporates a wide range of load release accessories for patient bedrooms, bathrooms, and ensuites.
This range now also incorporates a selection of universal load release mounting plates on which standard accessories and fixtures can be installed without creating a ligature risk.
Fixed Anti Ligature
These items are generally items that are required to bear weight or strain such as a hand rail, or a door handle. As it is not an option for these products to release under an abnormal load, the ligature risk is eliminated by designing it in such a way that it is not possible for a cordlike object to be looped or tied around it.
Items that can be removed from their intended location by force, such as a wardrobe rail, could potentially be used as a weapon for a patient to harm themselves or others. Whilst staff members are trained to overcome confrontation with violent patients, it is best to minimise this risk through innovative product design. A range of solutions, particularly load release products, are now available in lightweight and flexible materials to deter patients and reduce the potential harm that could be caused by them if they are used for purposes other than that for which they have been designed.