According to a recent story in the New York Times, low staffing levels in facilities combined with the nationwide nursing shortage increase the risk of an assault. The article also notes that nurses and other personal care workers suffer injuries from these attacks at a rate 12 times higher than the overall private sector.
Nurses and other personal care workers bear the brunt of such attacks, with 25 injuries annually resulting in days off from work for every 10,000 full-time workers at 12 times the rate of the overall private sector, according to the bureau. The most dangerous settings are psychiatric units and nursing homes, where patients are often confused, disoriented or suffering from mental ailments, as well as emergency rooms, where long waits for care can anger patients, and the people with them.
Low morale is another side effect of these attacks if the staff doesn’t feel management’s concern or support in these matters.
What can be done to protect your staff without hiring more security or adding an airport-like screening? Increasing staffing levels seems to be the surest way to reduce these attacks. Another benefit of increasing staffing levels is the positive effect it can have on your patient care.
Every facility must ask themselves if their staffing levels are putting their employees at risk, and if so is it cheaper to add staff or to settle a lawsuit that could result from an assault.