Violence and aggression against healthcare and social care workers continues to rise. The consequences for healthcare providers and hospitals include higher staff turnover, an increased recruitment burden, growing pressure on services, dissatisfied service users, and a vicious cycle of heightened stress and poor outcomes.
Therefore, new strategies are needed, and we are now seeing them being introduced. This does not mean overturning the security investments already in place, ignoring the lessons of the past, or discarding expertise built over many years. But neither does it mean repeating the same strategies without innovation and expecting better results. It is time to redirect resources to better effect. CriticalArc’s work with healthcare providers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia is demonstrating how innovative strategies, taking advantage of powerful new technologies, can transform safety and security across the healthcare sector. In this eBook we explain what these new strategies are, and show how they are being implemented. And we demonstrate how they are already improving protection for thousands of staff in hospitals, in local clinics, and in local communities.
“Workplace violence is now one of the biggest threats to healthcare services. We know it impacts so many different areas.” -Eric Clay, International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS)
Staff are uniquely vulnerable to violence and aggression because of the work they do. They come into close contact with members of the public – patients, family, and friends – often during the most stressful circumstances, when they are at their most vulnerable and experiencing raised levels of pain, anxiety, or frustration.
Even when healthcare services are running smoothly, these heightened emotions can trigger a fight-or-flight response that leads to violence and aggression. But when systems are under pressure, as many now are, that risk is significantly increased.
As waiting times become longer, as people become more tired and stressed, the likelihood of verbal and physical aggression grows too. In their front-line roles, hospitals and healthcare facilities are also affected by the problems and pressures present in the wider community – factors including the physical and mental health of the general population, attitudes towards authority, and the effects of inequality and social deprivation. And medical teams must always be ready to deal with the fall-out from major incidents and emergencies – situations that can place them at additional risk.