Basic Q15 Minute Safety Check Processes
Psychiatric patients are admitted into inpatient treatment often because they are a danger to themselves or others. As such, one of the primary goals of inpatient behavioral treatment is to keep patients safe from themselves and each other, so that they can be treated and return to the community. The consistent presence of caregivers is one of the foundations of safety. This presence occurs often and in many ways, but it is documented in terms of Q15 minute safety checks.
Definition - Q15 Minute Safety Checks are generally:
- The primary responsibility of front-line caregivers (health tech, etc.).
- Reviewed/Audited by nurses periodically to ensure patient health and front-line compliance.
- Occurring every 15 minutes.
- Visual contact with patient
- Confirms location (ie. check against elopement)
- Confirms signs of life (ie. breathing while asleep)
- Notes patient activity/affect (ie. check for behavior risks)
- Documented via a Q15 minute check form, (see sample Q15 minute check pdf)
- Stored physically or electronically for future reference.
- The minimum level of contact between caregivers and patients on an inpatient unit.
*** Note: Individuals, teams, and organizations define safety checks differently. See these survey responses when psychiatric nurses were asked to define “Safety Check” [LINK] ***