Tolerance may add to problem, expert says.
Experts on healthcare safety say nonverbal body language known as “behaviors of concern” can precede actual violence, and if caught early, de-escalation tactics can be used to intervene and keep the situation from becoming violent.
While hospitals do their best to limit the number of so-called “never events” that happen to their patients, recent events show that there is still work to be done.
In patient safety circles, “never events” are mistakes that should simply never happen—seemingly commonsense mistakes such as a surgeon accidentally leaving a scalpel inside a patient, a newborn infant given to the wrong parents, or any death of a patient due to the gross negligence of a caregiver.
The International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety Foundation (IAHSS) in August 2017 released a report to address strategies to prevent workplace violence in healthcare. Those familiar with the healthcare industry won’t be surprised by its conclusion: Healthcare facilities need to take steps now to mitigate violent incidents.
“We are in an environment where underlying violence is considered acceptable. We are expected not only to survive, but turn right around, respond, and treat casualties.”
Harrington’s workforce will undergo additional training in de-escalation techniques and defensive tactics, and public safety officers will be armed with batons, foam-based pepper spray, and handcuffs.
Hurricane Harvey unleashes catastrophic flooding, forcing some healthcare providers to shut down and evacuate patients.
Organizations are developing “second victim” programs to provide care for the caregivers—programs specifically focused on helping healthcare workers recover from trauma.
A majority of the events included verbal abuse and intimidating behavior, and other issues reported were work interference and humiliating and threatening behavior. The events occurred in many areas of care, especially in perioperative care, medical/surgical units, and emergency departments, and were often prompted by procedural errors and complications.
More than 70% of significant WPV injuries occur in healthcare and social service settings. That number has been on the rise, and the victims are primarily healthcare workers, according to the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation.