As facilities managers in hospitals and other healthcare buildings continue to address rising threat of workplace violence, the American Hospital Association (AHA) recently rolled out a new anti-violence framework using four pillars to protect patients, staff and visitors.
The framework consists of four critical pillars necessary for implementing comprehensive violence mitigation strategies: trauma support, a culture of safety, violence intervention and risk mitigation. It seeks to prioritize physical and psychological safety of the workforce and the communities they serve, recognizing that the work of hospitals also takes place outside of their physical walls.
“Hospitals and health systems, because they are always there to serve, are not immune to violence. Hospitals and health systems are places where patients come to heal, and that includes treating patients who are victims of violence,” says Mary Beth Kingston, chair of the AHA’s Hospitals Against Violence advisory group. “Healthcare providers also experience violence, which now seems to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as enforcing mask and visitor requirements collide with health care workers who are enduring long shifts with less time off.
“These increased tensions in the hospital setting make it difficult to mitigate workplace violence. It begs the question: What kind of care is provided to our health care workers when they experience trauma?”
The framework is preventive, responsive and continual, calling for ongoing support from leadership and buy-in from the workforce, she says, adding that with its use, leaders can care for the caregivers while also making the community safer.