Workplace violence in health care is a serious issue. In 2014, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board reported that the health care sector had higher rates of lost-time injuries due to workplace violence than the manufacturing, construction, and mining sectors combined.
Any worker - a person who performs work or supplies services for monetary or non-monetary compensation, a volunteer or student from a secondary school board, college, university or other post-secondary institution, can be exposed to workplace violence.
The research on Workplace Violence in Ontario is still growing and largely focuses on the nursing work force. In a Review and Evaluation of Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in the Health Sector by Wang et al. from the Nursing Health Services Research Unit at the University of Toronto we see that only about 5% of nurses assaulted on the job file claims with the Ontario Worker’s Compensation Board.
Another study from Ontario published this year by Wong et al.is the first study in Canada about the Occupational hazards for home care nurses across the rural-to-urban gradient. It describes the difference in occupational hazards for home care nurses in different geographical settings in Ontario.
For an international perspective from the US and an overview of workplace violence from various health care professions refer to Phillips’ study in the New England Journal of Medicine about Workplace Violence against Health Care Workers in the United States.
For a European perspective out of Switzerland, De Puy et al. Clinically assessed consequences of workplace physical violence and found that being a victim of workplace violence can result in long-term consequences on health and employment, their severity increases with the seriousness of initial psychological distress. Support from the employer can help prevent negative outcomes.
Workplace violence in health care is a serious issue. We need to prioritize it, track it and report on it to begin to understand the factors that influence it and those that can decrease or help to avoid it altogether. Under the Excellent Care for All Act, Health Quality Ontario has announced that hospitals will be required to complete a mandatory indicator related to workplace violence for their 2018/19 Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs). Other sectors are encouraged to do the same.
How are you and your organization working to prevent violence in your workplace?
Share your ideas, innovations and thoughts in the comments below.