Understanding the Causes and Solutions
Knowing the reasons of patient violence in hospitals in America and the ways of countering the situations are an integral part of maintaining a healthy hospital atmosphere. Employers of state hospitals often find victims to workplace patient assaults towards their staff members which take a toll on their labor and security costs and the days lost at work due to staff injuries.
Employers thus require urgent attention and assistance in helping them understand some of the main causes and how they can address the situation. In this article, we provide you a guide on how you can prevent violence and abuse in your workplace and maintain safety for both patients and staff.
Understanding the Causes
Effects of Alcohol
Patients are likely to express violent behavior if they are under the effects of alcohol or drugs. Drugs are often provided to patients in the form of antidepressants or for treating cancer and can be one of the factors.
Patients who have taken recent injuries to the head could experience tremors. Post-traumatic tremors involve uncontrollable shaking which can result in perceived violent behavior by patients.
Death of a Close Family Member or Friend
The loss of a family member can trigger excess sadness and grief that can accumulate to lead to despair and violence. The despair is unleashed on hospital staff.
Unprofessional Staff Services
Inappropriate staff behavior directed towards patients can also contribute to high stress and aggression among patients which could in turn lead to violence. Staff who have not received training in the art of de-escalation can also fall victim to patient abuse.
Poor Workplace Conditions
An unsafe and poor workplace environment that consists of poor lighting, improper ventilation and air-conditioning are create optimal conditions for patient aggression and violent behavior.
Strategies for Staff
Be Mindful Of Warning Signs
One of the first things in avoiding patient assault is to be aware of the different warning signs prior to the assault. These warning signs could vary but mainly include the patient raising his or her voice, abusive language, threats, threatening body gestures and the patient holding a weapon.
Knowing these different warning signs can help staff plan their next move with a lot more confidence and promptness which can either involve alerting security or using calm and compassionate body language and words.
Approach Patients With Cordially and With Compassion
Whether the staff member is in the middle of a highly uncomfortable situation with a patient or not, managing patients with the utmost compassion and care goes a long way in preventing the conditions for a violent assault from patients. It is crucial to empathize and use language that demonstrates care and understanding such as ‘we understand how you feel’ or ‘I know you are feeling a lot of pain’ can help the patient feel at ease instead of agitating his or her frustrations.
Employers are required to provide high level professional staff training to meet such requirements.
Respond To Conflicts Astutely
Lastly, employees need to learn de-escalation techniques to calm the situation and not respond with the same aggressive tone to the patient. Doing so would only put the employee and others at risk.
Moreover, standard operating procedures should be implemented and made known to staff in alerting the security, turning on the alarm or panic button or escaping from emergency exits should a patient resort to extreme violence.
This will help to minimize potential risks and casualties