Risks In the Healthcare Sector?
Posted 11:00am, 18 Jun 2017
Community healthcare workers are vulnerable on a daily basis, they face an unprotected and unpredictable environment each time they enter a client’s community and home.
The level of violence that workers face can range from verbal abuse, threats, stalking, assault and even homicide.
Verbal abuse from the client, family members, or people in the community is a form of workplace violence. Verbal abuse may be subtle, such as asking for help beyond the scope of the job, or it may be more obvious, such as complaining about job performance, appearance, making inappropriate or crude remarks or even threatening to cause harm.
We know that risks exist, so how do we manage them?
Provide violence prevention, de escalation and response training to all staff members who work in the community.
Take reports of violence seriously and take appropriate actions to prevent re-occurrence. Support staff who have experienced trauma with full support following any incident.
Take steps to identify dangerous neighborhoods and provide additional measures when visits are required in these locations (such as a buddy system).
All staff should be equipped with a duress and tracking system that will work in a worst case scenario (when a worker can not reach a device to call for help).
Engage in provided training programs that are provided by management.
Always report violence to team leaders, no matter how 'minor'.
Establish positive and supportive relationships with team mates, encourage open communication and information sharing across departments and areas.
Always use your Verisafe safety tool for tracking while on the job. No matter how safe you feel or how 'unlikely' you think that danger may be. Tracking is NOT displayed to your management in real time, maps are sent only if you press HELP or do not check in.
If possible work with a buddy in high risk areas. Always aim to schedule visits to dangerous locations within daylight hours.
When driving alone, lock your doors and windows, keep healthcare equipment and personal belongings out of public view. Always park your car in a well lit area as close to possible to the clients home. Before getting out of your car, scope out the surroundings, if you feel uneasy or notice any unusual activity trust your intuition and don't get out!
Press your At Risk button when you leave head office.
Stay in your car and contact team leaders if you notice anything that might threaten your safety, (strong odors from a drug lab, shouting and sounds of fighting, suspicious looking people on site, dangerous dogs etc).
Press "check in" at each new address.
During the visit, be alert, evaluate each situation for potential violence,
Watch for signs of escalating violence or assault, (such as verbally expressed frustration, anger, threatening gestures or signs of drug/ alcohol abuse). Always look out for the presence of weapons.
Maintain behavior that helps deescalate and anger by:
Maintaining a calm, caring and empathetic attitude, do not match threats with threats, do not give orders, and do acknowledging the person’s feelings.
Always avoid behaviors that may be interpreted as aggressive (for example, getting very close without warning, touching unnecessarily, speaking loudly or moving very fast).
If possible, keep an open path to exit a client's home, ALWAYS trust your judgment.
If you are being verbally abused, stand your ground and ask the abuser to stop. If the abuser does not stop, then leave and notify your employer.
If you cannot gain control of the situation, shorten the visit and remove yourself from the situation.
If you feel threatened, leave immediately. If you need help, and can reach your phone, press your HELP button discreetly to avoid escalating violence.
If you feel like you are trapped and can not leave, let your "At Risk" escalate to notify your team leaders.
They will be alerted, sent your location data and be prompted to act on your behalf.