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Healthcare systems work to bring awareness to violence in hospitals

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Posted at 7:55 PM, Jun 09, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Hospitals across central Indiana are working to bring awareness to workplace violence.

It's something the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) says happens too often but is under-reported because many employees believe it is part of the job.

"It's not a well known fact that out of the all the workplace violence that occurs, 75% of it is at healthcare and hospital settings. So, we're trying to prevent that," said Tammi Nash.

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Nash, the Chief Nursing Officer for Riverview Health, says healthcare workers are four times more likely to experience workplace violence related injuries than any other profession.

"Sometimes it ends up being aggressive behavior," said Nash. "Some of it can be medically or because of how somebody comes in, perhaps under the effects of drug and alcohol, sometimes it's the language. At times, you can have folks that are thrashing or hitting or spitting."

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IHA says around 25,000 incidents against healthcare employees are reported a year, but some employees don't report incidents.

That's why hospitals across the state are participating in IHA's Safe and Sound Campaign.

At Riverview Health, there is a new campaign called "Be Kind."

It includes new signage throughout hospitals, de-escalation training, increased security, an updated Code of Conduct, conversations with staff that it's OK to speak up and more.

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"As hospitals come together and are in this Safe and Sound Campaign, or whether they do something for their own culture with the "Be Kind" campaign, it helps to set the public message out there," said Nash.

To bring awareness of this issue, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a proclamation declaring Friday as Hospitals Against Violence Day.

"We really appreciate Gov. Holcomb making the proclamation for hospitals against violence, and the more we can do legislation wise to help support our healthcare workers," said Nash.

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The American Hospital Association also recognizes June 7 as National Workplace Violence Awareness Day.