The Joint Commission recently issued a Sentinel Event Alert, “Physical and verbal violence against health care workers,” which calls attention to the increasing prevalence of workplace violence in the healthcare and social service settings.
When the Joint Commission issues a Sentinel Event Alert, it is taken seriously by accredited organizations, a warning that they need to immediately focus on and devote resources to the problem in question. The alert states that healthcare workers are now four times more likely to be victimized than workers in private industry. This workplace violence results in low staff morale, lawsuits, and higher worker turnover. It is essential that these industries look into ways of reducing this violence, perhaps through the use of automated risk management tools to save time and have planned out solutions, or with regular check-ins with staff.
Whatever the method, violence must stop. All staff needs to feel safe and secure in their work environment, in whatever capacity that is. Not speaking up about violence is understandable, they can be worried in case they are not believed or they just feel like it’s their job and they should ‘put up with it’, but that is not the case. Employees would feel more open to speaking up if they felt like they could talk openly with their managers, team leaders, etc. these figureheads need to have a relationship to colleagues and tell them that their voice matters and that they should always speak up.
Look beyond only hiring security
Organizations must begin to look beyond solutions that only increase security and be ready to act when encountering verbal or physical abuse. The AvaSys TeleSitter Solution is a technology that is already positioned to identify and direct interventions in attacks on staff. Now, with recent advancements in software, AvaSys® assists in the tracking, reporting, and analyzing of workplace violence to reduce the incidence of these events.
Join Commissions action items for reducing workplace violence
The Joint Commission has provided a list of action items to guide organizations towards transforming their environments into safe and secure places of employment. The AvaSys technology provides a platform that significantly contributes towards the implementation of these action items, as described below.
Reporting workplace violence is the first step in creating preventative measures.
The Joint Commission reports that only 30% of nurses report workplace attacks. AvaSys features an adverse event reporting system with customizable alerts so leadership can be immediately notified when the AvaSys monitor tech observes an event, even if the caregiver does not report it. Specifics of who, when, why, and how can be captured through observation and swift documentation. This is then sent directly to leadership so the incident can be immediately addressed, and appropriate resources deployed.
Only through analysis of data from multiple sources can we identify hazards, trends, and new strategies for making the healthcare workplace safe.
AvaSys allows for on-demand analysis of not only adverse events but also near misses through AvaSure’s ORNA® Program (Online Reporting of Nursing Analytics). Inputs through the AvaSys software will become meaningful predictive metrics that contribute to the development of better risk assessment tools. By training monitor staff on specifics of reportable elements and details needed, ORNA will become a valuable database to aid in determining risk factors, trends, and areas for improvement.
Update work procedures to keep team members secure. By having the means to call for help we can protect staff, eliminate hazards, and implement safer work practices.
AvaSys has a proven track record of already preventing hundreds of potential assaults through the summoning of help by AvaSys monitor techs when they observe threatening situations. The AvaSys Stat Alert alarm, when activated, summons available assistance into the room within seconds. By implementing AvaSys monitoring, staff will feel more protected knowing there is a second set of eyes that will summon help quickly in the event violence occurs. Trends gleaned through analysis will allow caregivers to identify and initiate AvaSys monitoring on patients who are assessed to be at risk for potential violence.
Organizations with a live AvaSys program can begin these interventions immediately. If the software currently in use does not have adverse event or near miss reporting available, then you are eligible for an upgrade.
Contact AvaSure for more information and request your demo to learn how you can prevent further workplace violence against nurses.
Stacey Overholt RN, BSN, MBA, Vice President of Clinical Services, AvaSure
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