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A focus group assessment of work organization risk factors for workplace violence in mental health.

McPhaul-KM; Lipscomb-J
APHA 130th Annual Meeting and Exposition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 9-13, 2002. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2002 Nov; :49563
Work organization in mental health care and its impact on workplace violence is currently being examined in a public psychiatric hospital system. During the past decade, the inpatient census in the system's facilities has declined by two-thirds and the workforce has been reduced by half. Some inpatient facilities have been closed or consolidated, and more patients are now being served in community settings. The current patient population is increasingly male, younger, dually diagnosed with mental illness and chemical abuse, and a history of criminal incarceration. These changes have contributed to a climate where an aging workforce is being forced to adapt to a more difficult and potentially more violent clientele. Focus groups were convened, in part, to inform the development of staff survey. Sixty direct care staff participated in one of eight focus groups conducted across four intervention sites. Organization of work risk factors for workplace violence were identified during the focus groups and categorized using the OSHA Violence Prevention Guidelines elements as a framework. Findings mirror generic healthcare issues such as equal commitment to worker safety and health and patient/client safety. Specific to workplace violence are calls for consistent post assault services such as medical and psychological counseling and debriefing. Staff want zero-tolerance for workplace violence and communication of this policy to managers, supervisors, co-workers, clients, patients and visitors. Training, legal assistance, and staffing during high risk activities were also discussed. Detailed analysis of the focus group findings and the methodological issues surrounding their use will be presented.
Workers; Workplace-studies; Workplace-monitoring; Worker-health; Occupational-hazards; Safety-measures; Mental-health; Mental-disorders; Mental-fatigue; Mental-illness; Occupational-hazards; Health-care-personnel; Nurses; Nursing; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries
Kathleen M. McPhaul, RN, MPH, School of Nursing, University of Maryland, 655 Lombard Street, Room 665, Baltimore, MD 21201
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Research Tools and Approaches: Intervention Effectiveness Research
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APHA 130th Annual Meeting and Exposition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 9-13, 2002
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University of Maryland
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division