Violent crimes, such as assault, murder and rape, are occurring at ever-increasing numbers in healthcare facilities, according to a sentinel event alert issued by the Joint Commission.
Violence rising in health facilities: Joint Commission
The Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based not-for-profit quality organization warned of the dangers to patients, staff and visitors from violent crime, and urged providers to follow 13 steps to avoid such events.
For instance, the Joint Commission advised hospitals to take extra security measures in their emergency departments, assess their violence-prevention programs, thoroughly pre-screen potential employees, and ensure that “procedures for disciplining and firing employees minimize the chance of provoking a violent reaction.”
The commission has received 256 reports of in-hospital rape, assault or homicide since 1995, and the number of reported incidents has jumped significantly in recent years, according to the alert. Underreporting of violent crimes is a persistent problem among hospitals, and the Joint Commission also recommended making such reporting mandatory.
“Healthcare facilities should be places of healing, not harm,” Mark Chassin, the Joint Commission's president, said in a written statement. “But, unfortunately, healthcare settings are not immune from the types of violence that are found in the other areas of our lives. The recommendations in this alert give healthcare institutions and caregivers specific strategies to take action that will keep everyone safer."
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