Zero tolerance for violence at RMH
September 19, 2017 - An increase in violent incidents and staff injuries at the Ross Memorial Hospital has prompted a strong reminder to the community that aggressive and violent behaviour will not be tolerated.
“There were two violent incidents in the Emergency Department this weekend alone,” said Anne Overhoff, Vice President Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer. “Our staff works hard, day and night, to help every patient in their time of need. It is difficult, demanding work. The team should be able to provide care without fear of threats or physical attack by patients and visitors. Assault is a crime and it will be treated as such.”
Dr. Bert Lauwers, RMH President and CEO, says people will see changes as the Hospital escalates its response to violent behaviour.
“Our staff is our most valuable asset,” said Dr. Lauwers. “We are taking significant steps to protect our frontline people in high-risk areas such as the Emergency Department. These measures include an increase in security guards and, at times, police presence. We will also be making physical changes to the Emergency Department and implementing the use of personal alarms for staff safety.”
Last week, the Hospital engaged experts from Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences to do a site visit and identify areas where safety and security can be enhanced. That team, including Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Klassen, reviewed violence prevention strategies and made a number of recommendations which will be summarized in a full report.
Violence prevention efforts are the focus of two RMH committees: one targets the Emergency Department specifically; the other addresses safety needs throughout the Hospital. Education and training are important components of the violence prevention program which incorporate several elements (training, policies, culture, environment) for assessing, preventing and managing workplace violence.
To complement the increase in efforts within the Hospital team, the Emergency Department Violence Prevention Task Force initiated a poster campaign in the spring to emphasize to patients and visitors that dealing with violence is not part of the job.