Workplace violence Health care/social assistance Health Care Workers Injury prevention

Unit-based data may aid prevention of workplace violence in health care: study

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East Lansing, MI – Hospitals that use unit-level data on violent events to create worksite interventions could help lower the risk of patient-to-worker violence and staff injuries, a recent study from Michigan State University suggests.

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 41 units – representing acute care nursing, intensive care nursing, emergency department, psychiatry, security and surgery – of a Midwestern hospital system to intervention and control groups. Intervention groups received data on violent events and injuries to aid in the development of a violence prevention action plan. Control groups did not receive data.

After six months, intervention groups reported about a 50 percent lower rate of violent events than control groups. After two years, the risk of violence-related injury was about 60 percent lower for intervention groups.

“While there were no statistically significant decreases in event and injury rates over time in the intervention group, that group had significantly lower risks for both events and injuries over time, compared with controls,” the researchers said in the study.

Hospital violence rates nationwide “increased significantly” during the study period (2010-2015), remaining a notable occupational hazard for employees, states a press release from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which published the study in the January issue of its journal, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

“Results of this study fill a high priority gap in hospital workplace violence prevention by establishing evidence-based methods for translating violence surveillance data into fact-based risk analysis and prevention,” the study states, adding that the approach “represents an organizational and systems perspective to workplace violence that views violence as related to work processes and conditions, rather than merely the result of interpersonal conflict. Importantly, this approach also gives individual units the flexibility to use their own data to drive the violence prevention process.”

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