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Q: During a recent consultation survey, the nurse consultant traced a patient to a general medical floor. She made the comment that all soiled work room doors require locks. Is this true? Do we have to install locks on these doors?
A: You should have asked where she learned that because there is no Life Safety Code requirement for the doors to the soiled utility rooms to be equipped with locks. Now, if there is a perceived risk that patients, visitors, or unauthorized staff can be injured or harmed by entering a soiled utility room, then yes, a lock is in order under the ‘Safe Environment’ standard by CMS and the accreditation organizations.
But the consultant is mistaken to make a blanket statement saying all soiled utility rooms doors require locks. Each individual soiled utility room must be evaluated to determine if it is a risk to the safety of those in the area.