SDW news brief: Follow these four precautions to prevent ED violence

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 5, 2010

When it comes to workplace violence in hospitals, emergency departments (ED) act as a potential powder keg. Patients face long waits, which cause frustration to rise. Here are four suggestions for preventing ED violence:

  • Tighten access control. Evaluate every entrance-such as entries to treatment rooms, reception areas, and outside entrances-and determine whether access should be tightened to each. Also, consider whether receptionists and intake nurses should be protected with glass barriers or other measures.
  • Evaluate lockdown protocols. A key is to know when you initiate an ED lockdown. For example, if a domestic violence victim is brought into the ED and the aggressor is still at large, will that trigger a lockdown? A less drastic measure is to screen people coming into the ED waiting room.
  • Encourage employees and physicians to discuss incidents. Some physicians and nurses assume that violence comes with the job and don't speak up about it. But assessing violence and fully reporting incidents can help your facility get a better grip on what's truly happening and how to enact prevention measures.
  • Assess patients for their violence potential. As part of the triage and admissions process, educate nurses and physicians to identify a patient's potential for violence.

Source: HealthLeaders Media

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