The High Risk of Violence to Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare Professionals are at an increased risk for workplace violence. The Joint Commission estimates that healthcare and social service workers are five times more likely to experience violence in the hospital setting than all other workers. Many incidents go unreported, but the high incidence of violence in healthcare settings has resulted in The Joint Commission’s (TJC) creation and release of new and revised Workplace Violence Prevention Requirements that went into effect on January 1, 2022, for all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals. The updated requirements reflect the growing body of knowledge on effective workplace violence prevention strategies and address various types of healthcare workplaces, including inpatient units, clinics, offices, and behavior health units. They also emphasize the importance of a comprehensive approach to workplace violence prevention that includes elements such as leadership commitment, workforce engagement, policies and procedures, training and education, incident reporting and analysis, environmental design considerations, and security arrangements.

Mitigating Risk in Healthcare Settings

Violence in the healthcare setting has been an ongoing issue for healthcare professionals. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare and social services workers are five times more likely to experience violence in the hospital setting than all other workers. The high incidence of violence in healthcare settings has resulted in The Joint Commission’s (TJC) creation and release of new and revised Workplace Violence Prevention Requirements that went into effect on January 1, 2022, for all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals.

The new requirements are aimed at preventing workplace violence by identifying risk factors and implementing strategies to mitigate those risks. While the new requirements are a step in the right direction, it is important for healthcare organizations to continue to work towards creating a safe and healthy workplace for all healthcare professionals.

Take Steps to Meet the Joint Commissions New Standards on Workplace Violence

The Joint Commission’s new standards for workplace violence go into effect January 1, 2020. Healthcare organizations that do not meet these standards may be subject to accreditation problems. In order to meet the new standards, healthcare organizations must take the following steps:

  1. Conduct a risk assessment to identify potential sources of workplace violence. This assessment should consider factors such as the type of patients being treated, the physical layout of the facility, and the policies and procedures in place to prevent and respond to incidents of violence.
  1. Develop and implement a plan to address the risks identified in the risk assessment. This plan should include measures such as security training for staff, improved lighting in parking areas, and changes to visitor policies.
  1. Review the plan on a regular basis to ensure that it is effective and make changes as needed.
  1. Respond quickly and effectively to incidents of workplace violence when they occur. This includes having a clear procedure for reporting incidents, conducting investigations, and taking disciplinary action when necessary.

By taking these steps, healthcare organizations can ensure that they are in compliance with the Joint Commission’s new standards and create a safer workplace for their employees.

H.R. 1195 – A Stand Against Workplace Violence in Healthcare

How will your organization address the new requirements and potential legislation with H.R. 1195?

Companies will need to address the following:

  • Defining workplace violence
  • Implement leadership oversight
  • Conduct a worksite analysis
  • Develop policies and procedures for the prevention of workplace violence
  • Have reporting systems, data collection, and analysis
  • Process for post-incident strategies
  • Continuing eduction to decrease workplace violence

Health Care Professionals and Job Morale

Health Care Workers are on the front lines of the battle against workplace violence.   They are working long hours in often difficult and dangerous conditions. And yet, despite all they are doing to save lives, health care workers are being subjected to increasing levels of workplace violence. Health Care professionals have been punched, spit on, and even killed while doing their job. This violence takes a toll on the health and well-being of those who are supposed to be helping others.

It also has a negative impact on morale and job satisfaction. No one should have to put up with this kind of treatment, but health care workers often feel like they have no choice. The reality is, however, that the most talented health care professionals have options. They can choose to work in a safe and supportive environment where they are valued and respected. When health care workers feel valued and respected, it leads to better patient care. It also leads to higher morale and job satisfaction.

Costs of Lost Productivity-Workplace Violence

The health care costs associated with workplace violence are notoriously difficult to calculate. Each incident springs from the unique conditions of an individual workplace. In some cases, the initial costs may come and go in the space of a week or two. However, there are various other costs, such as trauma care, funerals and grief counselling, which may be more drawn out and are considerably harder to quantify. These hidden costs can have a profound impact on the health and well-being of both individuals and organizations.

 

While the direct costs of an incident may be relatively easy to identify, it is often the indirect costs, such as lost productivity and reduced morale, which can have the most lasting impact.

Lost productivity

The costs of lost productivity due to health care and workplace violence are staggering. The US Department of Labor estimates that workplace violence costs 500,000 employees 1.2 million lost workdays every year. And that’s just one part of the lost productivity. Other factors such as absenteeism, presenteeism, and workers’ compensation claims can also take a toll on businesses. According to the CDC, the indirect costs of health care alone are $225.8 billion per year. When you factor in lost productivity, it’s clear that businesses are feeling the pinch. workplace violence and health care costs are two major factors contributing to lost productivity in the workplace. Businesses need to find ways to address these issues in order to improve their bottom line.

 

Employee retention

Revisiting the scene of a traumatic event can trigger powerful emotional reactions that make it impossible for people to concentrate on their work. That, in turn, can motivate employees to find a new job.

 

Piling extra work on co-workers for 42 working days—more than eight weeks—can’t but hurt productivity. It forces companies to cut corners in ways that undermine trust with customers and clients.

 

Morale and job satisfaction

Workplace violence is a serious issue that health care workers face on a daily basis. health care professionals have to deal with the threats of violence from patients, families, and visitors. The most talented employees with the most in-demand skills have no reason to put up with an atmosphere of violence or threats. health care workers should not have to deal with these threats and health care organizations need to do more to protect their employees.