Medical staff, and above all the nurses, have very close contact with patients. It is not uncommon for patients to become aggressive due to psychological problems or during more sensitive procedures. This is when abuse of medical staff occurs. Can such situations be prevented? How can medical staff be protected so that they feel safe at work?
Staff duress – how often does it occur?
An independent study, “Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers”, conducted by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act), shows that medical workers experience more incidents of assault compared to workers in other industries. The American Nurses Association even indicates that up to 1 in 4 nurses are in danger. They are forced to deal with patients in volatile, emotionally-charged situations that can sometimes result in physical confrontations.
Increase security with RTLS
In a life-threatening situation, every second counts. With so much exposure to potential dangers, medical staff must be able to react quickly. To increase safety and reduce instances of staff duress, hospitals can use technology to locate personnel in real-time using wireless devices that include:
- BLE button equipped Staff Badges
- fixed-location pull-cord units
These allow emergency medical personnel to activate personalized alerts with visual and audible alarms and notifications transmitted to a central system or mobile devices.
The primary element of real-time protection for medical staff is the panic button. For example, when a nurse notices the possibility of a patient attack, they can press the panic button. An audible or non-audible notification will then be sent containing information about the location and time of the incident. The person receiving the alert can immediately go to the scene and help the medical staff at risk. The second solution is devices with a pull-back mechanism and tags attached to accessories or watches. By making a pulling motion, an alarm signal is activated. This goes to mobile devices or a central monitoring system. Fall detection devices that work with IoT technology are also used in securing staff duress. In this situation, distress notification devices are placed on wristbands or connected to mobile devices. When a medical staff member’s position changes during an attack, the device sends an alert.
Why use RTLS to prevent staff duress?
RTLS systems are effective in improving worker safety. They provide the possibility to call for help in real-time, which results in more excellent health protection. Nurses and other medical staff thus gain a sense of security. Their ability to work also depends on the speed of response – if help is not provided in time, an employee can be seriously injured. In such a case, the employee is unable to work and may claim compensation from the employer. The use of RTLS systems also positively impacts the quality of services provided by the hospital. Staff who do not act under pressure feel safe, function better, fulfil their duties faster, and show greater loyalty to their workplace.
RTLS systems help to reduce staff duress by mitigating risks even before they occur. The staff duress functionality is also useful in non-emergency situations when, for example, a nurse is not in danger but simply needs extra help with a patient. Ask about a dedicated solution for your hospital – contact Kontakt.io.