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Perpetrator and situational characteristics associated with security alerts in regional Australian emergency departments

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posted on 04.05.2022, 06:52 by Brodie ThomasBrodie Thomas, P O’Meara, Margit EdvardssonMargit Edvardsson, D McCann, Evelien SpeltenEvelien Spelten
Background: Workplace violence is a regular feature of emergency departments (ED) and reported to be increasing in frequency and severity. There is a paucity of data from regional EDs in Australia. The aim of this study was to identify the perpetrator and situational characteristics associated with security alerts in regional emergency departments. Methods: This retrospective descriptive study was conducted in two regional Australian hospital EDs. All incident reports, hospital summary spreadsheets, and patient medical records associated with a security alert over a two-year period (2017 - 2019) were included. The situational and perpetrator characteristics associated with security alerts in the ED were recorded. Results: One hundred fifty-one incidents were reported in the two-year period. Incidents most frequently occurred on late shifts and in an ED cubicle. Most incidents included multiple disciplines such as ED staff and paramedics, police and psychiatric services. One hundred twenty-five incidents had sufficient information to categorise the perpetrators. Mental and behavioural disorders (MBD) were the most frequent perpetrator characteristic present in security alerts (n = 102, 81.6%) and were associated with increased severity of incidents. MBDs other than psychoactive substance use (PSU) were associated with 59.2% (n = 74) of incidents and 66.7% (n = 18) of injuries. PSU was associated with 42.4% (n = 53) of incidents. Following PSU and MBDs other than PSU, repeat perpetrators were the next most prominent perpetrator category (24.8% n = 31) and were almost always associated with an MBD (93.5% n = 29). Conclusions: Violence incidents in the ED are often complex, patients present with multiple issues and are managed across disciplines. Interventions need to extend from one size fits all approaches to targeting specific perpetrator groups. Since MBDs are one of the most significant perpetrator factors, interventions focussing on this characteristic are needed to address workplace violence in EDs.

History

Publication Date

01/12/2022

Journal

BMC Emergency Medicine

Volume

22

Issue

1

Article Number

ARTN 48

Pagination

9p.

Publisher

BMC

ISSN

1471-227X

Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.