5273.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 5:30 PM

Abstract #10103

The impact of employee training as a strategy to reduce violence in the workplace in the health care industry

Iris G. Udasin, MD and Jane Lewis, DRPH. Department of Environmental and Community Medicine, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 170 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, 732-445-0123 X601, udasin@eohsi.rutgers.edu

The impact of employee training as a strategy to reduce violence in the workplace in the health care industry

In 1996, OSHA developed Guidelines for Preventing Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers recommends a formal program including risk assessment, training, and education to prevent workplace violence. Studies documented workplace exposure to patient-related violence, including physical injuries, verbal threats, and weapons threats. We identified a psychiatric facility and an urban medical facility as high risk for patient-related violence. 25% of employees in the psychiatric facility and 37% in the urban medical facility reported patient-related violence or threats. Most employees surveyed never received training to recognize and diffuse violence. Follow-up focus groups identified workers' perceptions of patient-related violence and possible solutions. Management cited the need for employees to acknowledge violence as part of the workday, and improve coping skills. Employees indicated a need to identify patients with a history of violence and improve recognition of patients with potential assaultive behavior. Other needs cited were improvement in clinical and interpersonal skills and debriefing employees after violence incidents.

A training program in recognizing and diffusing violence was adapted from a model that reduced client related violence in New York Traffic Agents. Violence indices, comprising physical injuries, physical contact without injury, threats of violence, perception of potential violence are calculated prior to participating in the interactive program and a year after completion. The needs assessment and program, including modifications addressing specific needs of health care workers exposed to patient-related violence, will be discussed.

Learning Objectives: At the completion of this session, participants will be able to discuss violence as an issue in health care workers, worker perception of patients as threats of injury, and awareness of techniques in recognizing and diffusing violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA