JAMA: Workplace Violence Is a Critical Issue, But Leadership Can Help

July 27, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Workplace violence prevention in a healthcare setting should be addressed "aggressively and comprehensively," said a viewpoint published July 18, 2016 in JAMA. Approximately 24,000 workplace assaults occurred in healthcare settings between 2010 and 2013, the authors said. U.S. hospitals have seen an increase in violent crime from 2.0 to 2.8 events per 100 beds between 2012 and 2015. Failures of communication, inadequate patient observation, lack or failure to comply with workplace violence prevention policies, and inadequate ability to identify aggressive tendencies in patients were the most common root causes. Nearly half (44%) of aggravated assaults in hospitals occurred in emergency departments. More than a quarter of healthcare worker or patient fatalities in healthcare settings (27 of every 100) were attributed to assaults and violence, the authors said. One way the government is attempting to curb these rates is by penalizing employers for exposing workers to risk after they are assaulted by patients with known history, or identified potential, of violence.

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