Violence prevention programs in health care

In brief

  • Health care professionals experience higher rates of workplace violence than workers in other occupations, and workplace violence is a growing problem, especially in high risk areas such as long-term care, emergency departments, mental health care facilities, and acute care wards.
  • Verbal insults or threats, physical assaults, and inappropriate touching can lead to stress, lost productivity, sick time, and injury. Staff recruitment/retention and quality of patient care can suffer as a result.
  • Our work in BC found that violence-related incidents lead to poorer RTW outcomes, compared to non-violence-related incidents, in workers with psychological injuries; and among health care counselors and social workers, and workers in long-term care and residential social services.
  • We developed a systems framework identifying potential leading and lagging indicators from a review of qualitative and quantitative research literature and information from focus groups and key informant interviews with managers and frontline staff. We then developed priority indicators in consultation with an employer/labour advisory panel.
  • Indicators were identified across socio-political, organizational, environmental, patient and caregiver domains. The research literature tended to emphasize patient and caregiver factors, while manager and staff interviews emphasized organizational and environmental factors. Priority indicators were identified in areas of hazard identification and management, staffing and staff mix, communications, and education and training.

Learn more about our other work with leading indicators: Occupational Health and Safety Practices Survey

Related publications

A realist review of violence prevention education in healthcare

Journal article
Provost S, MacPhee M, Daniels MA, Naimi M, McLeod C.
Healthcare. 2021; 9(3):339.

Does it make a difference? Evaluating violence prevention education in BC healthcare

Research brief
Based on: Provost S, MacPhee M, Daniels M, McLeod C. Realist Evaluation of Violence Prevention Education in BC Healthcare. Final Report to WorkSafeBC. Vancouver, BC: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; Dec. 2020.

Realist evaluation of violence prevention in BC healthcare

Provost S, MacPhee M, Daniels M, McLeod C.
Vancouver, BC: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; Dec. 2020.

Time to return to work following workplace violence among direct healthcare and social workers

Journal article
Choi K, Maas ET, Koehoorn M, McLeod CB.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2020 Mar;77(3):160-167.

Risk of violence among healthcare staff and return-to-work outcomes

Choi K.
Vancouver: The University of British Columbia; 2018.

Contact: Suhail Marino

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