IAHSS, AHA Releases Hospital Violence Prevention Guide

The guide offers recommended action steps, case studies, leading practices, and solutions for creating a safer workplace.

IAHSS, AHA Releases Hospital Violence Prevention Guide

(Photo: juliedeshaies, Adobe Stock)

The International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) and the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Hospitals Against Violence (HAV) initiative released a guide on best practices for combatting violence in healthcare settings.

The resource, “Creating Safer Workplaces: A guide to mitigating violence in health care settings,” was created for healthcare C-suite leaders and healthcare security leaders and offers recommended action steps, case studies, leading practices, and solutions for creating a safer workplace.

In spring 2021, IAHSS met with AHA’s HAV Advisory Group, which is made up of clinicians and hospital leaders from across the country, to develop the guide. The groups encourage all healthcare security leaders to review the guide and discuss its recommendations with other leaders within their organization.

“The collaboration between IAHSS and AHA addresses workplace violence in a collaborative way, that brings hospital leadership and security leadership together. With the support of healthcare leadership, security departments can work with multi-disciplinary teams to address the workplace violence epidemic,” said IAHSS President Paul Sarnese, CHPA, CAPM, MSE, MAS. “IAHSS is dedicated to providing tools and training to combat workplace violence and support the healthcare industry… This collaborative guide connects header care leaders and security leaders in a way, that encourages them to work together to evaluate current practices, and supports creating a safer workplace.”

Part 1 of the guide, “A Framework to Build a Safe Workplace,” looks at four overarching goals of hospital safety:

  1. Building a culture of safety: Important to creating safety, says the guide, is reducing risk exposure to violence, gathering data, and prioritizing physical and psychological safety of the workforce, patients, their families and the community.
  2. Mitigating risk: According to the guide, understanding potential hazards is fundamental to addressing violence in all types of healthcare settings. Interdisciplinary teams are especially helpful when it comes to assessing threats. For example, a workplace safety committee will be more effective when it includes clinicians and public safety officers who can team up and share their experiences.
  3. Violence intervention: The guide emphasizes the importance of “reaching beyond four walls” to advance the health of a community and improve the safety of a facility. Hospital-community collaborations are instrumental in promoting physical and emotional safety through a public health approach, says the guide. When developing training and response programs, the guide also emphasizes the need to include all employees who could be impacted, such as clinical and operations staff and first responders.
  4. Trauma support: Healthcare leaders play an important role in building workforce and community resilience in the face of trauma, says the guide. As most know, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on healthcare workers, many of whom are now struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Hospitals must support those impacted by trauma and build resilience after a violent incident.

Read the full guide here.

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