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Violence and aggression risk a concern for LRH

Latrobe Regional Hospital has welcomed the State Government’s commitment to establish a Health Service Violence Prevention Fund to tackle violence against health workers.

LRH Director of Mental Health, Cayte Hoppner said she was looking forward to finding out how the fund could support and enhance a number of initiatives already in place to protect workers at the hospital.

LRH established a working group of senior staff 12 months ago to look at how the health service responded to occupational violence and aggression.

“No-one should have to come to work fearing they will be the target of violence or aggression,” Ms Hoppner said.

“The drug ice is just one concern. Our staff are often presented with a range of challenging behaviours caused by alcohol, mental health issues or dementia.”

The hospital’s Occupational Violence and Aggression Working Group has investigated issues such as where violent or aggressive acts happen, how staff respond to emergency situations and whether staff have adequate training.

It has coordinated efforts to increase the number of CCTV cameras at hospital entrances and improve lighting in outdoor areas.

Ms Hoppner said the group’s focus now is on education to ensure staff have the skills to manage violence and aggression.

“We also see an opportunity to work with the community on some of these issues to make people aware of how and why aggressive behaviours develop and where to get help,” Ms Hoppner said.

“Perhaps a greater awareness and understanding of these behaviours will encourage early intervention so health workers, paramedics and police don’t bear the brunt of violence.”

Ms Hoppner said LRH was one of 21 hospitals funded to develop better responses to alcohol and other drug (AOD) presentations in emergency departments.

LRH used its funding to create an AOD nurse practitioner position to build the capacity of emergency department staff to manage patients who are intoxicated, drug-affected or have mental health issues.

The AOD nurse practitioner is now working with local police to develop ways to ensure the people who present to the hospital receive the care and treatment they need for a better health outcome.

 

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