Beyond mere functionality, the design of your heating system, as an integral part of the environment, directly affects patient safety and recovery. Heating systems designed with the user’s safety in mind mitigate potential safety risks and foster an environment that supports therapeutic progress.  

Here are the best practices that are particularly important for heating design in mental health settings to ensure the safety of everyone within the facility. 

Understanding the Unique Needs of Mental Health Settings  

When designing a heating system for mental health settings, there are usually 2 distinctive challenges: safety and security, as well as hygiene concerns. 

Safety and security 

 Since users of mental health facilities may occasionally display self-harming tendencies or exhibit aggression towards both staff and fellow patients, your heating system should be designed with a particular focus on mitigating potential safety hazards to maintain the safety and security in mental health settings.  

 The potential hazards include the risk of weaponized objects taken out from loose components of your heating system, as well as the concealing of contraband or medications within gaps and joints.  

 The increased potential for self-harm mentioned also indicates the indispensable need for anti-ligature features to be integrated into your mental healthcare facility design, be it the heating system, TV cabinets, or even light switch covers.   

Hygiene standards 

 Mental health facilities, though therapeutic in nature, are also medical environments, creating an environment where hospital-acquired infections could easily spread.  

 On top of that, the patients themselves might engage in behaviours that challenge hygiene norms, including distress-induced actions such as "dirty protests." 

 If your heating system proves difficult to access for comprehensive cleaning and upkeep, that increases the risk of harbouring harmful bacteria and facilitating disease transmission, posing a direct threat to the well-being of both users and staff. 

 specialist safe heating design for mental healthcare facilities

Risks Associated with Unsafe Heating in Mental Health Settings 

Self-Harm and Ligature Hazards 

 The presence of unsafe heating systems increases the risk of self-harm incidents and ligature dangers. Patients may utilize these components to hurt themselves, demanding a focus on anti-ligature design. 

Security Breach Endangering All Stakeholders 

 An insecure heating system with exposed fixings and pipes or a design that can be easily tampered with can lead to security breaches, jeopardizing the safety of staff, visitors, and fellow patients. A robust heating design is essential to maintain a secure environment within the facility.  

Hygiene Compromises and Hospital-Acquired Infections  

Unsafe heating setups pose a hygiene hazard. Difficult-to-clean systems can foster the accumulation of harmful pathogens, potentially spreading diseases among vulnerable individuals. 

 specialist safe heating design for mental healthcare facilities

Safe Heating Practices in Mental Healthcare Facilities 

Anti-ligature designs  

Anti-ligature designs are a fundamental safe heating practice in mental health environments, aiming to eradicate any potential ligature risks and ensure the well-being of service users. 

 Shockingly, statistics reveal that nearly three-quarters of suicide-related deaths within psychiatric wards involve hanging or strangulation. A national study conducted by the University of Manchester suggested Increased awareness of the methods used by these patients may benefit prevention strategies in mental health services.  

 Anti-ligature radiator covers are specialist products designed to mitigate such risks. Anti-ligature designs often follow certain characteristics:  

  • Smaller perforation holes for products that require ventilation 
  • Minimal gaps in joints 
  • (If wall-secured) minimal gaps between the product and the wall
  • Anti-ligature features like IP3X-rated grilles 
  • Bullnose, rounded corners 
  • Full casing 

Robust material choices  

 Robust material when integrated with tamper-resistant heating elements like security fastenings (i.e., Pin Hex and key locks) can prevent potential hazards caused by unauthorised tampering.   

Loose parts of a heating system, if not well-secured, can be used for self-harm or turned into weapons, endangering both users and staff. Furniture in mental healthcare settings tends to be more vulnerable to vandalism, and the vandalised furniture may end up becoming a potential weapon or ligature point.  

 Choose a heating system made from more durable and robust materials compared to regular furniture. Consider options like the DeepClean Extra range, constructed from 1.5-2 mm Zintec Steel, offering amplified strength and resilience for improved safety.   

Anti-microbial property   

Look for designs with accessible features, such as full drop-down or removable doors, providing easy access for cleaning to maintain hygiene standards within your facility. This approach reduces the risk of harmful pathogens and keep your service users from dangerous infections.   

To add an extra layer of protection for your service users, select heating systems treated with anti-microbial coatings like BioCote® used in the DeepClean extra range. They’ve been proven to provide an effective and long-lasting solution to combating a wide range of bacteria, including MRSA and E.coli, by up to 99.99 


Achieve Safe Heating Practices in Mental Healthcare Facility Designs with DeepClean Extra  

DeepClean Extra is a specialist range of heating solutions designed and engineered to minimise the risk of self-harm and for installation in secure environments, such as mental health facilities, prisons, SEN Schools, custody and remand units. 

Removing potential tamper opportunities and ligature points in locations such as these, are key considerations. The anti-ligature design incorporates IP3X-rated grilles tested by a UKAS-accredited laboratory and certified to protect against the ingress of objects greater than 2.5mm in diameter. Anti-ligature TRV kits are also available to allow service users to take control of their heating to increase comfort levels. 

Get in touch today and book a free consultation with one of our heating experts to discuss anti-ligature heating solutions for your facilities.   

specialist safe heating design for mental healthcare facilities