Violence an “Epidemic” for Healthcare Facilities

October 31, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


An October 31, 2012, article in Risk & Insurance, states that violence has reached “epidemic” proportions in healthcare facilities. Through a survey on the subject, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that healthcare workers are among the most susceptible to workplace violence and issued procedures on how to evaluate the issue for OSHA employees when responding to incidents and complaints. The Joint Commission has seen an increase in violent acts reported by member facilities but acknowledges that these incidents are underreported. There are a variety of risk factors for violence at a healthcare facility, including an increase in the treatment of psychiatric patients, work in a high-crime or isolated area, and economic difficulties of patients and families (which may lead to increased tension). Experts believe that the highest risk areas of healthcare facilities include the emergency department, psychiatric department, and geriatric department.

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