Maintaining a safe environment

The skills required for maintaining a safe environment cover a wide range of activities. Some of the activities within this chapter explain how to examine and monitor a client’s condition, thus maintaining their personal safety and well-being, whilst others are concerned with maintaining the safety and well-being of self, colleagues and visitors as well as of clients.

These activities generally fall into one of two categories: those issues that are related to the internal environment, for example blood pressure monitoring, and those concerned with the external environment, for example fire.

The reader is reminded to consult the Department of Health’s six benchmarks for best practice:

when caring for clients with mental health needs.

The factors that may affect maintenance of a safe environment may be:

  • Physical, arising from alteration in the structure, function or processes of the bodily systems
  • Psychological, such as anxiety or aggression
  • Sociocultural, for example family support, health, beliefs
  • Environmental, including smoking, spillages and safety during investigative procedures
  • Politico-economic, for example lack of finances, social support, government policies.

Common terminology

  • Amniotic fluid: A bodily fluid which surrounds the foetus during pregnancy
  • Asepsis: Freedom from disease-causing organisms
  • Cardiopulmonary: Related to the heart and lungs
  • Cerebrospinal fluid: A bodily fluid found in the spinal column and brain
  • Cytotoxic: Chemicals which destroy cells
  • Endogenous: From within
  • Exogenous: From an external source
  • Nosocomial: infection Hospital-acquired infection
  • Paracentesis: Procedure involving the puncturing of a cavity wall to drain or remove bodily fluid
  • Peritoneal fluid: A bodily fluid found within the perineum in some disorders
  • Sepsis: Infection
  • Synovial fluid: A bodily fluid found in a joint, e.g. knee
  • Universal precautions: Locally, nationally and internationally acknowledged guidelines aimed at reducing the risk of crossinfection, contamination or injury within health care settings