Skip to Main Content

Office of Mental Health

Patient Safety Standards Guidelines

Patient Safety Standards, Materials and Systems Guidelines (20th Edition)

Before Using This Manual, Please Be Aware of the Following Disclaimers.

  • Installation of these or any other products will NOT eliminate all risks of suicide or injury.
  • OMH does not endorse any particular product or manufacturer of products.
  • OMH does not guarantee or assume any responsibility whatsoever for the performance of any product.
  • OMH does not provide, and specifically disclaims, any representations or warranties for any of the products discussed in the guidelines.
  • OMH has not evaluated all products in the market in any category for any of the purposes for which the products in these guidelines might be used.
  • The absence of a product from these guidelines does not indicate that the product is unsafe or unacceptable.
  • OMH has made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of the information in these guidelines as of the date of the guidelines.
  • Users of the guidelines should consult other reliable sources to determine if there is any information after the date of these guidelines regarding newly identified risks, product recalls or other information relevant to the use of the products in the guidelines or similar products.

The purpose of these guidelines * is to provide OMH-operated and licensed hospitals or psychiatric inpatient units with a selection of materials, fixtures, and hardware that OMH has reviewed and either supports or rejects for use within psychiatric inpatient units. It is our intention that these guidelines are used to further the agency's goal of reducing the risk of harm to individuals while in inpatient settings. Utilization of any of these products is not mandatory. Rather, products in the guidelines represent the styles and properties that by design should reduce patient risk on psychiatric inpatient units.  OMH would be pleased to evaluate products identified by hospitals for inclusion in future editions.

There are some changes in this edition that should assist hospitals when selecting the best product for a specific application. In most cases, we have eliminated products for low risk areas, as they generally tend to be standard stock items. The hospital still needs to evaluate low risk areas to identify the best suited products for the designated space. Many products in the guidelines were reevaluated and, in some cases, recommendations for their use have been changed from previous editions.

The items are the best OMH has found that represent current state-of-the-art products. Be aware that some recommended products have known failure modes which are noted in the guidelines. Based on the expansion of risk reduction products seen over the past couple of years, it is expected that more effective products will continue to be developed. OMH intends to periodically update these guidelines to keep current with these changes, but the hospital also has an obligation to continue to review products that will assist in this goal.

It remains the responsibility of the hospital to assess patient safety needs within its particular environment and its designated population and then determine the materials, fixtures and hardware that are most appropriate. It is also the hospital's responsibility to ensure that the selected equipment is correctly installed, operates properly and is routinely maintained. Nothing in these guidelines is intended to suggest that installation of these or any other products will eliminate all risks of suicide or injury.

OMH supports a multi-directed approach to the reduction of patient harm on psychiatric inpatient units, including the following:

  1. Completion of patient risk assessments.
  2. Completion of physical plant risk assessments.
  3. Ongoing staff training to ensure their awareness of potential risks on the unit.
  4. Installation of risk reduction products in patient bathrooms, bedrooms and other high risk areas.
  5. Routine inspections of psychiatric units to ensure safety levels are maintained.

Please Note: The OMH patient safety standards, materials and systems guidelines may be downloaded, copied and distributed without further permission of OMH so long as any copy or portion thereof made or distributed or publicly displayed or posted, whether electronic or hardcopy, is accompanied by this web page, including the disclaimers.

* If you are having ADA accessibility issues with the previous documents, please contact Office of Diversity Management, or call (518) 473-4144.