Threat management for healthcare management – behaviors of concern

Increasing security threats within the healthcare environment, and escalating crime in healthcare settings, makes it vital to understand the behaviors of concern relative to threats. Healthcare workers are at a high risk of violent assault and crime at work, with 48% of all non-fatal injuries occurring in healthcare and social services from 1996-2000.

Workplace violence accounted for approximately 900 deaths and 1.7 million incidents of non-fatal assaults in the U.S. in 2004. Sources estimate that nurses and other healthcare workers are assaulted more frequently than any other worker group in the United States.

The 2012 Crime and Security Trends Survey, which was underwritten by the Foundation of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS), found that the number of healthcare crimes increased by nearly 37 percent in just two years from just fewer than 15,000 in 2010 to more than 20,500 in 2012.

According to this survey, “Crimes at healthcare facilities increased in nearly every category including simple assaults, larceny and thefts, vandalism, rape and sexual assaults. There were also eight homicides reported among member facilities in 2012, the highest number ever recorded in the survey. In fact, 98 percent of healthcare facilities now experience violence and criminal incidents.”

The Joint Commission (TJC) issued Sentinel Alert 45 in response to threat management in healthcare settings. The Joint Commission’s Environment of Care Standards require health care facilities to address and maintain a written plan describing how an institution provides for the security of patients, staff and visitors. Institutions are also required to conduct risk assessments to determine the potential for violence, provide strategies for preventing instances of violence, and establish a response plan that is enacted when an incident occurs.

Responding to incidents is critical – but anticipating and mitigating risks by identifying behaviors of concern is one of the most important opportunities to reduce violence in healthcare settings. Behaviors of concern are driven and compounded by a number of factors, including:

• 24/7, 365 day open access to healthcare facilities
• Highly female employee population
• Reduced staffing during ‘non-standard’ operating hours (nights/weekends)
• Increase in mentally ill patients
• Stress and anxiety among family members of patients
• Access to drugs or money
• Frustration due to long wait times in emergency department or other areas
• Cultural diversity and lack of understanding those differences

To learn more about behaviors of concern and mitigating risks and threats in the healthcare environment, plan to attend the Secured Cities Conference in Baltimore presented by Lisa Pryse on November 13-14, 2013. This dynamic presentation will include strategies and techniques that drive higher levels of healthcare safety and security in small, medium, and large healthcare facilities.

About the Author:

Lisa Pryse, CHPA, CPP is the ODS Division President of Healthcare Security Solutions and Chief of Company Police. She also serves as the 2013 IAHSS President. Lisa has over 30 years of healthcare security experience, law enforcement, safety, and regulatory environments. Her experience includes extensive experience in law enforcement and she holds both her CHPA certification and the Certified Protection Professional through the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS).