Like most products used in mental health environments, there is a real lack of clarity around what Corner Guard types are most suitable, to protect the patient from causing self-harm or harm to others.
Below is a comprehensive guide to the potential options to consider, depending on the level of acuteness and type of care necessary.
Before going into detail of the different types of corner guards, I will cover off on a few common risks that corner guards pose.
Corner Guard used as a weapon
If Corner Guards or their Covers are removeable, they can be used to cause harm to the staff or other patients. This is often a challenge in acute mental health areas or correctional facilities. The solution to this challenge generally requires ensuring the product cannot be removed from the wall or making it very difficult to remove without a mechanical means.
Risk of Ligature
If the cover of the corner guard can be removed, then the endcaps can also be removed, leaving the retainer exposed as a point of ligature hazard. The retainer sits out slightly from the wall, to enable to cover to clip over it, making it an indirect hazard in a mental health environment. Once again, a solution to this challenge is ensuring that the product cannot be removed from the wall or making it very difficult to remove without a mechanical means.
Risk of Cuts from Sharp Edges
Corner Guards retainers are traditional made from aluminium, leaving a sharp corner beneath the endcap that can cause injury if exposed. Other slimline single-fit corner guards such as stainless corner guards often come with sharp exposed corners that can pose immediate danger as a safety concern.
So what are the options?…
Low-level Care Options
I know I just mentioned that stainless steel corner guards often have sharp edges, however the Acculine Stainless Steel Corner Guards come as standard with rounded edges. This 3mm radius to every corner will be free of burrs or sharp corners that they are notorious for.
Stainless steel corner guards are a great cost-effective option in a clinical low care environment or correctional facility, where appearance isn’t a major consideration.
High-Impact Corner Guards (Bluenose Retainer) *Full-height recommended
Did you know that Acculine’s high-impact corner guards are actually designed to be very difficult to remove without the use of a special removing tool? Every corner guard is made to provide a tight fit to the retainer and a snug fit back to the wall to prevent any picking at or removal of the cover. The special tool for removing the corner guards is however very simple to use and is available for purchase from Acculine directly.
That said, there is still a risk of the cover getting removed and the sharp aluminium retainer being exposed. This is where the Bluenose retainer provides an additional safety measure. As well as being able to absorb much greater impact than a traditional aluminium retainer, the Bluenose retainer also has less potential for self-harm, being made from a softer material. It can also be provided with rounded corners, similar to the stainless steel corner guards (above) to further increase its safety.
By installing corner guards to full height, this eliminates access to the top of the corner guard, further reducing ligature risk or other self-harm.
Flush Mounted corner guards are rebated within the wall cavity. This makes them less vulnerable to removal and hence increases their safety. Flush Mounted corner guards should always be used in a full height application.
Acute Mental Health Options
This corner guard design was the first corner guard in Australia designed specifically for mental health. It was first used by Acculine on the Bega Hospital Redevelopment in 2016, alongside Multiplex and BVN and has since been refined to become a proprietary and proven system.
The anti-tamper fixings are designed to prevent the cover from being removed. The challenge is however to ensure that the corner guard can still operate as intended and compress upon impact, without the mechanical fixing failing or restricting its compression. After a number of different iterations and prototypes, the final system has proven to greatly reduce the possibility of removing the corner guard cover, which is the primary preventative step to make this option the safest corner guard available in Australia, and possibly the world. I know this is a bold statement, but we haven’t managed to find another similar design anywhere else in the world, to my knowledge.
If you have any specific questions that haven’t been answered above, please reach out.