Joint Commission Issues Addendum to Sentinel Event, Issue 45 - Preventing Violence in the Health Care Setting

PUBLISHED: Feb 10, 2017

In June 2010, The Joint Commission (TJC) issued Sentinel Event Alert, Issue 45, addressing the prevention of violence in the healthcare setting. According to TJC, healthcare facilities were once considered “safe havens” but are now seeing increased violent crimes, including rape and homicide. Providing for the safety and security of everyone in a healthcare facility requires vigilance by safety and security personnel and healthcare staff and providers.

TJC recently issued an addendum to Sentinel Event Alert, Issue 45 highlighting new resources available as of February 2017. The resources include:

  • TJC’s Workplace Violence Prevention Resources Portal
  • TJC’s Quick Safety Issue 4: Preparing for Active Shooter Situations, July 2014
  • TJC’s Quick Safety Issue 5: Preventing Violent and Criminal Events, August 2014

Health care facilities are reminded that a written program for workplace violence prevention, incorporated into an organization’s overall safety and health program, is an effective approach for reducing/eliminating the risk of violence in the workplace. Elements of an effective workplace violence program include:

  • Management commitment and employee participation
  • Worksite analysis
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Safety and health training
  • Recordkeeping and program evaluation

Healthcare organizations should have comprehensive policies and procedures addressing workplace violence, including but not limited to:

  • A "zero tolerance" policy for any real or perceived threats.
  • A culture that supports the reporting of real or perceived threats of violence including an easily understood and well-communicated reporting process.
  • Training programs to assist staff in responding to patients, family members, visitors, and other staff (including physicians who are agitated and potentially violent.)
  • A process for regularly surveying staff about their perceptions of violence risk.

Included with today’s notice are several example policies that reflect workplace violence prevention best practices.

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