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News

New research says realistic training helps healthcare staff deal with increasing violence

Honeywell Specialty Materials Europe : 28 March, 2006  (Company News)
Work-related violence remains one of the most serious occupational hazards facing staff working in the healthcare sector, a fact recently reflected in the NHS Staff Survey 2005 results. Nearly 12% of staff experienced physical violence from patients or their relatives and nearly 26% experienced bullying, harassment or abuse.
Training to help healthcare staff deal with violence at work is making a difference, but only where it has a solid grounding in day-to-day situations, researchers have found.

Work-related violence remains one of the most serious occupational hazards facing staff working in the healthcare sector, a fact recently reflected in the NHS Staff Survey 2005 results. Nearly 12% of staff experienced physical violence from patients or their relatives and nearly 26% experienced bullying, harassment or abuse.

The University of Nottingham research, funded by the Health and Safety Executive, and supported by a range of healthcare professional representatives, is the first national evaluation of violence management training of its kind. It will help promote greater consistency in the design and delivery of good training practices nationwide.

Jo Gravell, Senior Policy Advisor, said ''On the basis of the substantial data gathered during the project, the healthcare sector is now in much stronger position to assess the impact of violence management training and take the necessary steps to reduce incident levels even further.

With considerable input and support from various healthcare representatives, and the NHS Security Management Service, the research project has also demonstrated the true value of collaborative working relationships in tackling such a serious issue.'

'Violence management training' offered to staff, for example de-escalation, breakaway moves, control and restraint, has often been a key element of strategies to prevent or manage the problem. The Nottingham project was designed to both gather evidence about such training but also to inform and support those who manage, deliver and attend such courses.

The research found that the practical training being given to nurses, doctors and other health professionals is generally yielding 'positive, but limited, short-term benefits' in dealing with the rising tide of aggression and violence they face in the workplace.

The Nottingham researchers concluded that to achieve effective standards, training has to blend with other preventative systems and procedures that are already in place in an organisation. It is important that training does not just focus on promoting individual skills and knowledge.

They also found that poorly thought-out training is having a negative effect, leaving staff feeling more anxious and less capable of coping with the verbal and physical abuse aimed at them.
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