New risk assessment tool screens violent hospital patients

San Diego – A new risk assessment tool may help identify aggressive or violent patients who are admitted to medical-surgical units, a new study states.

According to the study abstract, researchers used the Aggressive Behavior Risk Assessment Tool on more than 2,000 hospital patients over a five-month period. They found that 1 percent of patients with an assessment rating of zero became violent, and 41 percent of patients with an assessment rating of 2 or above exhibited violent behavior.

The report’s authors stated that although assessments exist for psychiatric units, brief assessments are “lacking” for medical and surgical settings. The assessment tool pulls together features from pre-existing assessment tools and techniques such as the “STAMP concept” – a technique that uses patients’ non-verbal and verbal behaviors to predict violent behaviors.

The study is published in the November issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

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