Focus Groups Help Prevent Emergency Department Violence

Stakeholder input about workplace violence is critical in planning prevention programs

THURSDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- While emergency department violence is increasing, information gathered from employees, managers, and patients may help identify strategies to reduce such violence, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Donna Gates, R.N., of the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues used an action research model to gather data about violence in the emergency department. Twelve focus groups, consisting of a total of 97 individuals from three Midwestern U.S. hospitals, were conducted using the Haddon matrix to develop focus-group questions about the pre-assault, during-assault, and post-assault time frames. The researchers identified themes related to intervention strategies for patients, visitors, employees, and managers. In a subsequent phase of this study, a violence prevention and management program will be implemented and evaluated in six hospitals.

The researchers found that the themes that emerged from the focus groups supported the relevance and feasibility of the planned interventions. Employees and managers agreed on most of the interventions deemed necessary to prevent and manage workplace violence, including improved communication, increased security in the emergency department, and improved policies for reporting violent events. Patients focused mainly on improved staff communication and comfort measures.

"The intervention's success will depend on the successful collaboration of all stakeholders, support from administration, and a hospital culture that violence against health care workers will not be expected, tolerated, or accepted," the authors write.

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