Joint Commission, ICN Taking Steps Against Violence in Health Care

Organizations moving to de-escalate and prevent action against workers

Recent events have prompted at least two organizations to make recommendations or statements regarding violence against healthcare workers. 

The Joint Commission went first earlier this year, citing several sets of statistics. 

“The need for using de-escalation techniques has become more prevalent as violence in health care settings increases,” read an article on their website. “De-escalation is a first-line response to potential violence and aggression in health care settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted a rise in workplace violence, with the greatest increases of violence occurring against nurses and nursing assistants.” 

The advisory offers tips for de-escalation, along with suggestions for how to carry one’s self in a situation that may or has created violence.

The Joint Commission recommends the following safety actions for health care organizations:

  • Committing resources and time for senior management to educate staff on de-escalation and to ensure time is provided to audit interventions and environmental changes necessary to create the most therapeutic unit possible;
  • Using audits to inform practice, such as a Patient-Staff Conflict Checklist;
  • Implementing workforce training on new techniques and interventions;
  • Incorporating the use of assessment tools;
  • Involving patients; and
  • Implementing debriefing techniques.

Meanwhile, the International Council of Nurses has condemned violence against healthcare workers after a report released in May demonstrated almost 1,000 violations of agreements and U.N. resolutions meant to protect healthcare workers in conflict zones.

Impunity Remains: Attacks on Health Care in 23 Countries in Conflict in 2018 is the name of the report stating that 167 healthcare workers were killed in 2018 as a result of such violations. Another 700+ were injured.

“This report is shocking and everyone who reads it will be horrified by its tragic findings,” said Howard Catton, chief executive officer of ICN. “Nurses are a force for good, providing impartial care based on their code of ethics. Their protection is an emblem of our humanity that should protect and respect nurses wherever they are delivering care and attention to the needy.

“Nurses provide help to all sides in war zones, and to the innocents who have been targeted or caught in the crossfire.”

SOURCES: ICN, Joint Commission, NCSBN

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