Last night’s MedicCast Live episode was a pretty amazing. Not because of the incredible talents of the host but because of the discussion between the show’s guests including the esteemed “Rogue Medic” himself, Tim Noonan of the Rogue Medic blog. (You can listen to the recording when it’s released as this week’s regular scheduled podcast out on Sunday night.)

We also had three folks from ISR Matrix a company that takes a “realistic” approach to teaching self defense programs. Teach a few simple moves targeted to the specific workplace dangers and make the classes fun and memorable. They brought expertise from martial arts, law enforcement, and military service. Find out more from the series of articles by Jerry Barrett here at the MedicCast on his EMS self-defense class with ISR-Australia founder, Dave Pauli.

Healthcare Workplace Violence at 48%

According to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), violence in the workplace is on the increase. The same surveys mark the health care arena as being the focus of nearly half of the non-homicide violent incidents occurring in the private sector.

According to many experts, that number may be even higher since it is suspected that many violent acts by patients against caregivers go unreported unless they cause serious injury. I’m no expert but I am inclined to agree.

Report Every Potentially Violent Patient?

If I reported every patient with a head injury who grabbed at me or took a swing at me I’d be buried in hours of paperwork.

Do these combative patients with altered mental status count as violence? I guess I can answer that myself because if I put “combative” in my report it implies “combat.” Yet I know these incidents don’t make it into the national database because no police agency was involved.

A Better Standard to Document Violence

I think it’s time we started keeping track of workplace violence in the field. This includes every missed attack by a humorous drunk, little old lady swatting you with a handbag, AND the actual dangerous attacks by knife and gun-wielding psychos.

What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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9 Responses to EMS and Health Care Workplace Violence on Federal Radar

  1. Rogue Medic says:

    I agree with you, but I could not write a short response to this.

    MedicCast – EMS and Health Care Workplace Violence on Federal Radar and the same post at my blog.

  2. totwtytr says:

    RM, can you write a short response to anything? 🙂

    Seriously, I think we run the risk of over reporting “workplace violence” if we follow this course. There are serious threats, and sometimes serious injuries. Then there are the not so serious threats with no injuries. Some sort of verbal garbage or a hypoxic 80 year old grabbing you because she’s in a panic aren’t the stuff that workplace violence statistics are made of.

    Keep in mind that it’s likely that federal and state regulations on when potentially violent patients can be restrained are likely adding to the problem, so be wary of any government entity that wants to help “solve” the problem. The result is likely to be more paper work and time wasted on administrivia, with no benefit to health care workers.

    “The most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m hear to help’. “

  3. Tim says:

    Documentation and tracking are key to figuring out just what the incidence of violence is. This has me thinking alot about my personal documentation, noting violence in my narratives is not something that I normally do if it is directed towards myself or my partner, but it is a good clinical indicator for the patient as well as a tool for assessing general threat levels faced by ems workers over all.

    I am going to chew on this for a while.

  4. Tim says:

    tot,
    “be wary of any government entity that wants to help “solve” the problem”

    I agree to a certain extent, but we do need to collect the data. There are different ways to respond to different threat levels, ways to mitigate some of the more dangerous situations (admittedly, Granny with a low serum glucose is the least of our concerns…usually) and be aware of situations that could more quickly escalate. I don’t think that we consciously and deliberately do this, not as a point of training and retraining, in my experience.

    I think that the best way to handle this is to work through training departments.
    Collect Data
    Interpret Data
    Train Accordingly

    Maybe certain types of calls require more personnel including LEOs per revised protocols. Maybe self defense courses should be part of the standard curriculum and required CEUs. Unfortunately we haven’t adequately collected the data. That is where we need to start.

  5. […] Davis at the MedicCast writes – EMS and Health Care Workplace Violence on Federal Radar. He also refers to a MedicCast podcast that has not yet been posted, but will be worth listening to […]

  6. […] I also wrote about the problems with violent patients in MedicCast – EMS and Health Care Workplace Violence on Federal Radar. Jamie Davie discussed this in the podcast EMS and Health Care Workplace Violence on Federal Radar. […]

  7. […] I also wrote about the problems with violent patients in MedicCast – EMS and Health Care Workplace Violence on Federal Radar. Jamie Davie discussed this in the podcast EMS and Health Care Workplace Violence on Federal Radar. […]

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