When you think of public health and safety, the first thing that comes to mind might be an outbreak of the flu, but one of the largest health threats facing our communities is violence. Whether it takes the form of cyberbullying, domestic abuse or intimidation, violence is a major problem. This Friday, June 9, we will join the American Hospital Association (AHA) in taking a stand against violence — in all its forms — to make our communities a safer place through the Hospitals Against Violence campaign, #HAVhope.
More than 2.3 million people are treated in U.S. emergency departments each year for violent injuries. Violence costs more than $85 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. The financial cost is staggering, but the number of our patients who have suffered from acts of violence is much more troubling. While many injuries and illnesses cannot be avoided, violence is entirely preventable, which makes it all the more heartbreaking.
Violence against health care providers is also on the rise, with reports of injuries caused by patients nearly doubling between 2012 and 2014. No provider should be subject to violence on the job. WSHA hospital leaders and front-line staff have been convening regularly to understand opportunities and priorities on this focused initiative. Fourteen best practices have been identified in WSHA’s recently released toolkit, which is available to help further build or enhance your program. (Please contact Lucia Austin-Gil with any questions about this work.) The AHA’s webpage for Hospital Against Violence also has a suite of information that can be helpful in reducing workplace violence in the health care setting.
We hope you will join us in raising awareness of this important issue. Use #HAVhope on social media this Friday to join in the conversation and let us know how you are taking a stand against violence for your community and your providers.
WSHA President & CEO