Safety & Policy – December 2018
Safety: No more violence to health care workers
Forms of violence to health care workers
- Name calling
Statistics on violence against health care workers:
- 25 percent of nurses reported being physically assaulted by a patient or a patient’s family member, and about half reported being bullied (ANA)
- Workers in health care settings are four times more likely to be victimized than workers in private industry (SIA and IAHSSF)
- Health care workers have a 20 percent higher chance of being the victim of workplace violence than other workers (National Crime Victimization Survey)
- Violence-related injuries are four times more likely to cause health care workers to take time off from work than other kinds of injuries (BLS)
75 percent of nearly 25,000 workplace assaults reported annually occurred in health care and social service settings (OSHA)
Violence against health care workers is grossly underreported
- Only 30 percent of nurses report incidents of violence
- Only 26 percent of Emergency Department Physicians report violent incidents
Health care workers:
- think that violence is “part of the job”
- are sometimes uncertain what constitutes violence
- often believe their assailants are not responsible for their actions due to conditions affecting their mental state
Factors associated with perpetrators of violence
- Altered mental status or mental illness
- Patients in police custody
- Long wait times or crowding
- Being given “bad news” about a diagnosis
- Gang activity
- Domestic disputes among patients or visitors
- Presence of firearms or other weapons
What to do when violence occurs:
- Report it! Notify leadership, security and, if needed, law enforcement.
Courtesy of The Joint Commission
Policy: Needle Inservice
Awareness is essential to reducing needlestick injuries. With increased awareness, clinicians are more careful in their procedures, and are therefore safer. One of the key requirements of the legislation requires an institution to keep a Sharps Injury log to track incidences. This focuses awareness on the rate of injuries in that particular institution, resulting in initiatives to reduce them through safer work practices and the use of safety devices. By requiring institutions to evaluate and implement safety devices, incidences are reduced.
Hospitals can do a lot to safeguard healthcare workers with their own current resources. TRS increases the awareness of the risks through education programs (newsletters, emails). The hospitals should evaluate current policies regarding at risk procedures and change them if needed, will make the work environment safer. Healthcare Professionals must report injuries to increase awareness and result in safer work environments.
-Safety devices should be available at all hospitals and include:
- The safety feature is an integral part of the device (ESIP)
- The safety feature can be engaged with a single-handed technique
- The clinician’s hands always remain behind the exposed sharp
- The user can easily tell whether the safety feature is activated
- The safety feature cannot be deactivated and remains protective through disposal.
-It is against company policy to recap needles.
-All needles must be contained in an approved safety disposal container after use.
-Pay attention when performing injections.
You have a responsibility as a healthcare professional of TRS to learn how to use the needlestick safety devices at your client facility.