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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Violence and abuse in the healthcare workplace: The context for disparities

Lee Ann Hoff, PhD RN1, Kathleen Sperrazza, MS RN1, Karen Devereaux Melillo, PhD APRN BC2, Ainat Koren, PhD RN2, Carole Pearce, PhD RN2, Craig Slatin, ScD, MPH3, and The PHASE in Healthcare Research Team4. (1) PHASE in Health Care Research Team, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 78 Stratford St., West Roxbury, MA 02132, 617 323-6887, leeann.hoff@comcast.net, (2) Nursing Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 3 Solomont Way, Suite 2, Lowell, MA 01854, (3) Department of Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 3 Solomont Way, Weed Hall, Lowell, MA 01854, (4) Center for Public Health Research and Health Promotion, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 3 Solomont Way, Lowell, MA 01854

Professional and governmental concerns with healthcare workers' health and safety has more recently been more focused on violence and emotional abuse as a source of worker injury. National and international incidents and research have led to current efforts to prevent and reduce the incidence of workplace violence and abuse. Recent public policies have regarded domestic violence and its possible spillover to work sites, as well as the shunting of some violence-prone prisoners from criminal justice containment facilities to more open healthcare facilities. Dramatic incidents of medically serious or even fatal violence draw temporary public and organizational attention to protective policy and security measures in healthcare facilities.

The PHASE in Healthcare study obtained systematic data to ascertain the extent and health/mental health and economic consequences of healthcare workers' injury by violence and emotional abuse through quantitative and qualitative methods. Findings reveal that consequences of workers injured by violence and abuse are compounded by a tradition of some workers' acceptance of violence and abuse as “part of the job,” erratic reporting, attitudes of management, excusing of violence based on the perpetrator's cognitive status, lax accountability measures for perpetrators who are not cognitively impaired, and Workers Compensation policies that do not adequately address the issue. Other findings include variability of violence-related injury based on class, ethnic minority status, gender, and workers' jobs in direct patient care and ancillary services.

Learning Objectives: At the end of the presentations, the audience should be able to

Keywords: Health Care Workers, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Social Context of Occupational Health Disparities for Healthcare Workers: Findings of the PHASE in Healthcare Research Project

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA