Are you prepared to handle a violent patient? A well-rounded emergency preparation plan in a medical practice will include policies and procedures to address potential incidents of workplace violence, which is, unfortunately, a real concern in the health care industry. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, there were 42,100 incidents of workplace violence against physicians between 2005 and 2009, for a rate of 10.1 incidents per 1,000 employed physicians. The overall private industry rate is just 1.8 incidents per 10,000 full-time workers.
A comprehensive workplace violence plan will identify how to deal with aggressive patients, how to maintain office safety and how and when to summon help. It’s also important to regularly review your plan with all staff members.
“About twice a year, we meet with security and go through our plan,” said Brad DeSilva, MD, residency program director in the department of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at Ohio State University in Columbus. “We talk about how to address a hostile patient, about trying to calm them down by using nonthreatening language, about not approaching the patient aggressively and trying to get them to sit down and talk. The idea is that one person engages the hostile person, so that other staff can close doors to keep other patients safe. We also review where the panic buttons are located in the office and when to call for help.”