A new sentinel event alert from the Joint Commission said healthcare workers and organizations need to do better on reporting and preventing workplace violence.

The Commission released an alert that warns healthcare organizations to take seven steps to address workplace violence.

Those steps include:

  1. Clearly define workplace violence and put systems into place across the organization that enable staff to report workplace violence instances, including verbal abuse.
  1. Recognizing that data come from several sources, capture, track and trend all reports of workplace violence including verbal abuse and attempted assaults when no harm occurred.
  1. Provide appropriate follow-up and support to victims, witnesses and others affected by workplace violence, including psychological counseling and trauma informed care if necessary.
  1. Review each case of workplace violence to determine contributing factors. Analyze data related to workplace violence, and worksite conditions, to determine priority situations for intervention.
  1. Develop quality improvement initiatives to reduce incidents of workplace violence. Specifically, the Commission recommends changes to the physical environment, to include: enhanced security or alarms, better exit routes, regular security patrols/rounds, metal detectors, panic buttons (including mobile panic buttons), monitoring or surveillance technology (such as cameras), barrier protection (for example, keypad access doors and fencing), environmental changes to facilitate de-escalation and reduce hazards, and better lighting.
  1. Train all staff, including security, in de-escalation, self-defense and response to emergency codes
  1. Evaluate workplace violence reduction initiatives by regularly reviewing reported incidents and leadership’s responses to them; analyzing trends in incidents, injuries and fatalities relative to baseline rates and measuring improvement; surveying workers to determine effectiveness of initiatives; and more.