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Implementation and evaluation of a practical intervention programme for dealing with violence towards health care workers

Authors

  • Judith E. Arnetz PhD MPH PT,

    1. Research Associate, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Sections of Social Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden,
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  • Bengt B. Arnetz MD PhD MPH

    1. Professor, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Social Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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Judith E. Arnetz Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala Science Park, S-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.

Abstract

Implementation and evaluation of a practical intervention programme for dealing with violence towards health care workers

The aim of this study was to implement and evaluate a practical intervention programme designed to help staff in health care work-places to deal with patient violence towards staff. The programme was part of a controlled, prospective study that ran for 1 year. The study population was comprised of staff at 47 health care work-places, randomly assigned to either the intervention or control group. The Violent Incident Form (VIF), a checklist designed to simplify the registration of violent events, was introduced at all 47 work sites, where staff were instructed to register all types of violent and threatening incidents directed towards them during the 1-year study period. The intervention work-places also followed a structured feedback programme, where the circumstances concerning registered incidents were discussed on a regular basis with work-place staff. Baseline examination of the study groups revealed no statistically significant difference with regard to self-reported violence in the past year. At the conclusion of the 1-year period, the difference between groups was statistically significant (P < 0·05). Staff at the intervention work sites reported 50% more violent incidents than the control work sites during the year. Compared to the control group, intervention group staff reported better awareness: of risk situations for violence (P < 0·05); of how potentially dangerous situations could be avoided (P < 0·05); and of how to deal with aggressive patients (P < 0·05). Logistic regression analysis confirmed an increased risk for self-reported violence in the intervention group post-intervention (odds ratio 1·49; 95% confidence interval 1·07–2·06; P < 0·05). The structured feedback programme seems to have improved staff knowledge of risks for violence in the intervention group.

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