In Washington State and across the nation, health caregivers have experienced an increase in assaults from patients, families and visitors. Frequently related to an existing mental health or substance abuse crisis, hospitals often do not have an effective infrastructure to proactively identify patients at risk for violence and appropriately manage the situation from a clinical and multi-disciplinary perspective to prevent injury. Getting hurt is not “part of the job.” Hospital leaders are challenged by this issue, which can lead to lost revenue from worker’s compensation claims, high turnover rates and decreased morale, while having an indirect impact on quality outcomes from burnout.
WSHA’s Workforce Safety advisory group, which includes executives, clinical experts, and policy and patient safety advocates from urban and rural hospitals, was created to advance the implementation of legislative and institutional strategies to improve outcomes. The emphases are on identifying individuals who pose a risk for violence, educating the workforce, creating a culture that promotes reporting, using de-escalation techniques and proper aftercare for injured workers.
WSHA has designed a draft toolkit to guide organizations in understanding the requisite leadership commitment, employee participation, hazard identification, safety and de-escalation training to successfully advance this work. The final toolkit will be posted on the WSHA website on April 15. WSHA is offering to prepare hospital gap analyses along with specific, individualized action items to which the hospital may respond with an implementation plan by June 9, 2017. WSHA is committed to supporting our members in understanding workforce safety performance data, and prioritizing opportunities for improvement while implementing local and national best practices to combat workforce violence.