Managing disruptive patients in health care: Necessary solutions to a difficult problem

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BackgroundWe sought to describe the components and processes in a violence risk assessment and management system, including electronic record requirements in the Veterans Health Administration (VA). We present information on system-level variation among program elements and their association with perceived and measured effectiveness.MethodsWe conducted a cross-sectional survey of Chiefs of Staff (COS) at 140 VA hospitals across the United States about specific disruptive behavior program elements, such as committee processes, patient referrals, and outcome patterns. We assessed COS perceived effectiveness of the processes. We compared COS perceptions with employee-reported assault-related incident rates and workers compensation lost time claim rates for assault-related injuries for 2009 and 2010.ResultsWe found the violence risk assessment and management system is heavily used, often with guidance to provide police protection for providers. COS respondents were generally satisfied with design and performance of the system. Committee processes and perceptions of effectiveness were associated with reduction in assault-related incident rates.ConclusionsVA's system was considered effective by system owners and users may be effective at reducing assaulted-related injuries. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:1009–1017, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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