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It takes a system to make our workplace safe

Asante’s new Workplace Violence Incident Review Council reviews violent incidents and near-misses at Asante facilities and helps develop solutions that can be shared throughout Asante.

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Do these scenarios seem familiar?

  • A patient frustrated by their length of stay acts out on the care staff.
  • A disgruntled caller makes rude or inappropriate comments to an employee in billing or patient registration.
  • A patient in a CT scanner is confused and lashes out.
  • A visitor grieving over a dying loved one makes unrealistic demands on staff.

These and other situations of disruptive behaviors require a system-level response to create safety for everyone involved.

Under the guidance of Oregon Workplace Violence law, which addresses violence in health care facilities, Asante’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program found that our system lacked a standardized process for reviewing workplace violence incidents and near-misses.

As a remedy, Asante created the Workplace Violence Incident Review Council, a new multidisciplinary council that reviews workplace violence incidents to find opportunities to improve Asante’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program. With both clinical and non-clinical representation, the council reviews incidents from all three hospitals and APP clinics.

Its purpose is to review both injury and non-injury cases brought from the Employee Safety Program and Risk Management. Recommendations are generated for processes, initiatives, incident reporting and tools to help prevent of workplace violence and ensure that review results and action plans are communicated back to the involved staff or teams.

The council reviews safety incidents related to workplace violence that meet the following criteria:

  • Incidents resulting in injury to patient or staff.
  • Multiple events by one patient.
  • Departments with a spike in incidents.
  • Cases that involve law enforcement.
  • Workers’ compensation claims.
  • Complex code gray cases.
  • Requests from leaders.

The leader of the department where the incident occurred will be invited to present the case to the council and offer ideas for program enhancement. Staff involved in incidents may participate in the Incident Review Council process. The council provides recommendations on action plans specific to the case; for example, education, policy and process enhancement, treatment planning or staff support.

The Incident Review Council completed its pilot phase this month and will go live systemwide in August. The council is led by co-chairs Jennifer Nidalmia, clinical practice adviser for Behavioral Health, and Debra Flickinger, manager of Asante’s employee safety program.

Meetings will be held the second Tuesday of the month. For questions or concerns, please email [email protected].

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