Health care and social service professionals working alone run the danger of violence for a variety of reasons:
solitary patient or client interaction during examinations and treatments.
Certain medical procedures have the potential to upset or frighten patients.
working by oneself in isolated settings, such as patients' homes, accident scenes, hospitals or clinics, etc.
Drugs and other medications are accessible in ambulances, pharmacies, and other emergency vehicles.
Most hospital or clinic areas are open to the public.
Hospitals and many clinics are accessible to the general public around-the-clock, particularly during times of increased risk such late at night and early in the morning.
What can business owners do?
Prior to an incident happening, it is crucial to recognize that there is a risk of violence towards employees. Employers should thoroughly evaluate the settings, circumstances, and worker safety. There is further information in the following OSH Answers documents: Individual Work - General Individual and Off-Site Work Workplace Violence and Harassment
What advice do you have for administrative prevention?
Social circumstances, a history of drug or alcohol misuse, psychiatric conditions, or a propensity for aggressive or violent behavior are just a few examples of factors that should be considered when evaluating patients in relation to staff safety. Be mindful that there must be a balance between employee safety concerns and patient confidentiality. Assign those with more expertise or those who have previously handled violent circumstances to regions or patients that offer a higher risk of violence. Where possible, make sure that every counseling and patient-care space has two exits. Staff members should have free access to the exit when seated between the door and the patient. Determine the situations in which it is appropriate to use medicine to prevent or control anxiety. Decide which situations call for the use of physical restraint and offer training. Establish methods for evaluating, identifying, and keeping an eye on patients at high risk. Establish prescription drug locking processes. Give each employee the proper instruction and training. Create an emergency call system to alert certain events (such as a fire or staff in need of quick assistance) and write up documented policies and procedures for handling them. Provide any additional assistance or backup support that staff members request. Encourage workers to report any instances of workplace violence, including threats, as well as any near-misses. Encourage staff members, if feasible, to avoid carrying keys, pens, or other objects that could be used as weapons.
What advice can you give for dealing with patients?
Before the appointment, review the patient's profile. Take note of any potential issues and take preventative action if required (e.g., have another person in the room). Be respectful and non-threatening when talking to patients. Give the appropriate information at the appropriate moment. DO NOT overburden patients or family members with complex medical terminology. Before and during the procedure, thoroughly and clearly explain to the patient what will happen, for instance. How much time it will take. Whether it'll hurt or not. DO NOT do private examinations of patients if you feel threatened. Make plans to have a coworker present or nearby. In order to allow for visible or verbal interaction with other staff members during any potentially aggressive consultation, if at all possible, leave the door open. As soon as possible after an incident of abuse, note it so that the specifics are not lost when reporting. If it's possible, move aggressive patients to settings that are more restrained or secure. Look into each report. Review preventive measures and take corrective action. Observe the laws that apply in your jurisdiction. If a patient gets combative while you are performing the surgery, stop if you can. Ask the patient to describe their symptoms to you. If you can, make the necessary corrections. If not, please explain why you can't. If you have concerns about a family member's behavior, make sure they understand what is expected of them in plain and straightforward words. Ask them to take a seat in the waiting area if their behavior persists or worsens. In case you feel intimidated, contact security.
What advice can you give to those who work in patients' homes?
Make sure you are trained in violence prevention and know how to operate alone securely before you go on a house visit.
accustomed to using the check-in process.
informed of the locations in which you'll be working.
given all necessary client-related information.
Do: Adhere to guidelines for working alone off-site by checking in and evaluating the working environment.
Examine your cases in advance. The location of the home (apartment complex, private residence, retirement residence, etc.), the parking lot's condition and position, the number and type of pets, and other factors should all be considered while assessing the patient. Learn about the possible risks in the region where you work. Dress professionally. Consider whether wearing a uniform will help you stand out or if it will put you at greater risk. Consider whether placing identification signs on your car will be advantageous or increase risk in your region. Use your discretion. Before entering and after leaving a potentially dangerous situation, call your contact person. Employ a confident body language. Keep a reactionary buffer between you and the other person so that you have time to respond to whatever moves they make. Observe your surroundings carefully. Recognize where the doors and other exits are. Visit throughout the day, particularly on your initial visit. Have training that is appropriate for your duties, area, and anti-violence efforts. Keep an incident reporting form with you, and fill it out as soon as something happens. You'll remember more details if you complete the form right away. Don't: Avoid carrying a lot of cash or wearing pricey jewelry. Never touch another individual without that person's consent. Never get into a scenario where you think your safety is at jeopardy. For help or additional information, get in touch with your office. (Adapted from the CCOHS Guide on Preventing Violence in the Workplace)"""