The Joint Commission: 7 actions to address healthcare workers' higher risk of workplace violence

The Joint Commission issued a sentinel event alert to help recognize and handle violence in various healthcare settings, where workers are four times more likely to be victimized than private industry workers.

The Joint Commission suggested seven actions to address the factors contributing to violence in healthcare, which include mental illness, long wait times and bad news about a diagnosis.

Here's what the organization suggests.

1. Clearly define workplace violence and implement systems enabling staff to report workplace violence, including verbal abuse.

2. Capture, track and trend every report of workplace violence, including situations when no harm occurred but the worker felt unsafe.

3. Provide appropriate follow-up and support to victims, witnesses and others impacted by workplace violence.

4. Determine the contributing factors in each instance of workplace violence. Analyze worksite conditions and data related to workplace violence to identify priority situations for interventions.

5. Create quality improvement initiatives to reduce workplace violence incidents.

6. Train all staff members — including security personnel — in de-escalation, self-defense and response to emergency codes.

7. Evaluate initiatives for reducing workplace violence.

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