This was a subject of some discussion during The Joint Commission’s (TJC) Suicide Reduction Panel (sometimes referred to as “Expert Panel”) meeting on October 9, 2018. This is being revisited since the data received indicates that this is not a method that patients are frequently using to attempt to harm themselves. It is unknown at this time what TJC’s formal position will be on this. We will post it here as soon as it is official.
However, we are reluctant to suggest that it is a good idea to our clients to have unsecured lay-in ceilings in locations that are not under frequent observation. Obviously, this is a decision that each organization will need to make based on their safety risk assessment.
We have identified two ways to retain the existing ceiling grid and create a ceiling that will resist access by patents and are working with several manufacturers on some others that are very promising.
The first, and our favorite at the moment is to remove the existing ceiling tile and install Armstrong Ceiling’s “Metal Works Vector” tile in the existing grid. This is a 2’X2’ metal tile that is available in perforated versions and sound absorbing insulation can be installed above the tile to help reduce reverberation in the corridors and other spaces. The surface of the tile is 3/8” below the face of the grid and there is a 3/8” recess between the edges of each tile on all sides. A single tamper-resistant screw can be installed in the recess between the tiles to resist removal of a tile and simply removing that screw allows any given tile to be removed. Therefore, full accessibility to everything above the ceiling is easily retained for maintenance staff.
The second involves installing Armstrong Ceiling’s “Main Beam Adapter Clips” on the existing grid after removing the tile. These clips make it possible to screw 5/8” thick sound absorbing gypsum board to these clips and then finish the joints and paint as any gypsum board ceiling. Lockable access panels will need to be provided an all equipment requiring maintenance. The sound absorbing characteristics of this solution is expected to be less than the previous option. This saves the cost of removing the existing grid and providing new suspension system for the new gypsum board.
Stay tuned here for more options as they become available.