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Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Facilities - Occupational Health

Violence is common in health care facilities across the country (not just in VA). More than 50 percent of all reported workplace assaults happen in hospitals, clinics, and other health care settings. VA works continually to provide a safe environment for all. Through specialized training, our employees learn to protect Veterans who are receiving medical care, and also themselves.

Veteran’s Health Administration’s (VHA) Violence Prevention Practices

Behind the scenes, here’s how VHA makes it possible to promote safety for Veterans, VHA staff, and visitors:

Three men practice violence prevention on a dummy

VHA evaluates biomechanical safety
of our therapeutic containment techniques

  • VHA has developed violence prevention programs that teach VHA employees how to recognize, de-escalate, and moderate disruptive or threatening incidents. When such an event occurs, employees are better equipped to handle it and prevent disturbance to other Veteran patients.
  • VHA has developed an innovative system that shares information from ethics committees, VA police, ombudsman, attorneys (Office of General Counsel), and VHA clinicians. This network helps VHA personnel to identify violence risk and to stop it before it escalates.
  • Each facility is expected to conduct a comprehensive Workplace Behavioral Risk Assessment based on its own data of where incidents and injuries have occurred. This makes the facility more aware of specific areas to watch and helps identify which employees may benefit from increased intensity of violence de-escalation training.
  • All VA Medical Centers must have a Disruptive Behavior Committee, headed by a senior clinician, to advise and make recommendations about incidents that occur, and to help prevent future incidents.
  • VHA uses a secure notification system to communicate healthcare delivery safety plans. One feature of this system alerts VHA employees, within the first minutes of a medical visit, to information necessary to promote Veteran and staff safety during the visit. When warranted, and after an extensive and individual review, VHA may limit the time, place, and manner in which healthcare is delivered to those who pose a violence risk to themselves and others. All Veterans maintain access to VHA care.

For more information, read the article, Preventing Patient Violence in VA Health Care (2.6 MB, PDF) on pages 14-15 in VAnguard magazine.

Learn about the program objectives of VHA's Workplace Violence Prevention Program.

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