Experiences of emergency department staff: alcohol-related and other violence and aggression
Introduction Alcohol-related violence is a significant and growing problem in Australia and overseas, however there is no up to date information regarding the self-reported experiences of hospital emergency department (ED) workers in Australia. Methods Ninety-one ED staff in two major hospitals in the Illawarra region of New South Wales completed a short survey designed to measure the amount and causes of violence experienced by staff and canvas possible solutions. Results Eighty participants reported being verbally abused at least once a month, and 39 reported this as a daily occurrence. Twenty-three staff had experienced physical assault at least once a month. Alcohol was the most commonly listed factor contributing to the violence and aggression (n = 71). Seventy-one staff felt that alcohol-related violence had increased since they had begun working in the ED. There was some confusion at one hospital regarding policies and procedures around alcohol-related violence. Staff suggestions for how to manage alcohol-related violence included the provision of more security staff and better training. Conclusions Alcohol-related violence continues to be a significant issue for ED workers and further investigation of policies and procedures around alcohol-related violence in the ED is warranted
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