Hospital violence, whether a part of general or psychiatric hospitals, is as endemic as opportunistic infections. Within the Veterans Administration Hospital System, more than 12 000 cases of assault have been reported in a 5-year period.1 Hospital violence affects the quality of patient care, creates risks for patients and staff, and demoralizes staff. In one study of psychiatrists in Maryland, 48 of 115 respondents had been assaulted.2 In a survey of psychiatry residents in a West Coast training program, 14 of 31 had been assaulted.3 In the past, hospital violence frequently was met with administrative and staff denial. Several years ago I inquired about the current assault rate at Veterans Administration hospitals and I was asked whether I wanted the figure generated by incident reports (the lower figure) or that generated by workers' compensation claims (the higher figure).
The article by Drummond et al4 in this
Eichelman B. Proactive Violence Reduction: Successful Quality Assurance. JAMA. 1989;261(17):2546. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420170090036
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