Violence Against Nurses is “Out of Control”

Startling Statistics for Healthcare Workers

A recent survey of Ontario healthcare workers revealed some startling statistics about workplace violence. The survey conducted for the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) found that 68% of nurses and personal support workers across Ontario have experienced physical violence at least once in the past year. Michael Hurley, OCHU’s president, is quoted as saying “Violence is raging really out of control in these hospitals.”

Unfortunately, if you’ve been working in or around the healthcare field for many years, this news is not a big surprise. It has been known for many, many years that healthcare workers worldwide suffer workplace violence at significantly higher than average rates. Click here for the full news article with more about this most recent survey.

Secure Care Products is proud to offer a real-time location system (RTLS) that creates an ideal solution for addressing staff duress risks.  Our ENVisionIT® real-time locating system (RTLS) can alert fellow staff and security of an event at the press of a button. Alarms trigger notification to our software and mobile devices using the mVision® app. The alarm notifications include a photo push showing the staff member requiring assistance along with their precise location.  Such details provided so quickly and with such accuracy (location within +/- one foot) enable the fastest possible response in a critical staff duress situation. Learn more about our ENVisionIT real-time locating system or request a quote today. Your staff is by far your most valuable asset.  Install a solution that shows your commitment to their safety and let them know help is only a button press away.

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Emergency Communication Best Tool for Nurse and Staff Safety

The United States Department of Labor warns, “Workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings face significant risks of workplace violence. Many factors contribute to this risk, including working directly with people who have a history of violence or who may be delirious or under the influence of drugs…In fact, healthcare accounts for nearly as many serious violent injuries as all other industries combined.”  Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are instituting plans and tools to prevent incidents and protect their nurses and other staff.

Some of the most valuable strategies and tools for caring for our caregivers is available through the OSHA Worker Safety in Hospitals page.  In addition, the Joint Commission recommends installing an emergency communication system that enables staff to quickly and easily signal for help in urgent situations.

Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) often provide “panic buttons” for staff duress, however, not all RTLS systems are alike.  In a report published by the PMC, they detail the benefits of Ultra Wideband (UWB) RTLS systems.  They state, “UWB is one of the most recent, accurate, and promising technologies…UWB technology, unlike other positioning technologies such as infra-red and ultrasound sensor, does not require a line-of-sight and is not affected by the existence of other communication devices or external noise due to its high bandwidth and signal modulation.”  This is a significant difference when the application is emergency communication, providing a much more reliable and accurate system.

ENVisionIT by Secure Care Products is an UWB RTLS Solution that includes a Staff Safety Badge that can be worn by nurses and other hospital and healthcare staff.  The Staff Safety Badge has a push button on the badge which can be programmed for staff duress or any other workflow use.  This information can also be directly communicated to mobile devices through the mVision mobile application to all staff, including security.  The mobile app allows you to customize the notifications and set escalation paths ensuring no call for help goes unattended.  This provides a complete safety communication solution for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

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Staff Safety: Understanding the Challenges of Workplace Violence

Healthcare workers experience some of the highest rates of workplace violence of any industry.

With such a large percentage of healthcare workers experiencing workplace violence, staff safety is a major concern to staff and administrators alike.  Changes in healthcare, Medicaid, and technology mean there are many obstacles to overcome, and staff need to feel confident that help is available whenever it’s needed.

staff duress for staff safety RTLSAccording to OSHA, there are many risk factors that vary by healthcare setting, but there are some common factors that contribute to workplace violence:

  • No emergency communication system in place
  • Lifting, moving, and transporting patients
  • Working alone
  • Poor environmental designs that may block vision or escape routes
  • Poor lighting in hallways or exterior areas
  • Working in neighborhoods with high crime rates
  • Inadequate security staff
  • Unrestricted public access

Workplace violence comes at a high cost as it typically involves things like paid leave, medical treatment or legal fees.  There are also some less obvious costs such as stress and fatigue for staff, lower employee engagement which can result in poor outcomes, and a high employee turnover.   With all these factors, why not create an environment that protects staff and reduces the costs involved with workplace violence?  There are many solutions out there, but many are costly without proven results.

Helpful Staff Safety Options:

  • A complete safety communication system that includes a staff duress button worn by staff that sends alarms and alerts to nurse stations, mobile devices, and security consoles.
  • Prevention Programs: a comprehensive program with safety training, work site analysis, record keeping, and hazard identification can help tremendously when management and team members are committed and participate

When you understand the challenges that staff can face, you can better understand how to come up with a solution that will make them feel safe and protected while they are at work.