Patient assaults among staff members of Mental Health Hospitals

psychiatric hospital

Mental Health Hospitals

Patients physically assaulting the staff at mental hospitals where they are admit, which results in minor/ severe injuries or even deaths is alarmingly prevalent in the current scenario, especially in IPD settings (such as in mental hospitals).

Paramedical staffs, psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors face manifold types of antagonism, violence, and beating at work, collectively referred to as workplace violence, which usually is sparked off by patients. Whether workplace violence negatively affects staff well-being may be related not only to its presence, but also to a person’s pressure reactivity. The creation of a healing environment is a vital goal for psychiatric inpatient settings. Interpersonal hostility in the form of discord, antagonism, violence, and assault are common occurrences in mental hospital wards, and impair the development of a treatment-conducive environment. These also create hardships for staff well-being, detracting them from patient care.

Several studies have documented that psychiatric staff are at high risk of workplace violence, including physical assault and verbal aggression by patients, visitors, supervisors, and coworkers

Staff members are likely to appraise conflict with patients in a different way when compared to appraisal of conflicts with coworkers and supervisors, bearing in mind that it is a part of a patient’s pathology.

An international review of violence toward nurses establishes that 55% of nurses in psychiatric and mental hospital settings experienced physical assault and that psychiatric settings had a higher rate of violence than any other health care setting. It is generally accepted that these assault records’ data are underestimates, because many staff may under-report harassment or assault due to fear of being perceived as less competent or being blamed, peer pressure not to report assault based on the gender of the person assaulted, or a lack of desire to deal with excessive paperwork or even of the threat of being fired from the job. According to recent studies, staff who are assaulted tend to be young (less than 30 years old), less experienced, less educated, spend more time with patients and are less qualified.

Direct care staff can feel beleaguered, vulnerable, disturbed, and shamed by assault and spoken hostility in their respective mental hospital units. The most commonly reported poignant consequences of assault and verbal aggression are fright, annoyance, rage, dread, disquiet, stress, and irritability. Similar to persons who have experienced traumatic events in the past, psychiatric unit staff who have been assaulted by patients are at increased risk of developing PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and major depression.

Job performance can also be adversely affected by feelings of insecurity; staff members who feel unsafe at work may engage in behaviors that impair curative bonding with patients: such as avoidance, passivity, and inconsistent or harsh enforcement of ward rules.

Mental hospitals suffer as organizations when staff safety is jeopardized. The incidence of episodes of violence in mental hospitals has direct costs for medical care, litigation, worker’s compensation benefits, paid leave, and substitute staffing. Additionally, there are indirect costs related to low self-esteem, employment and retention difficulties, service disruption, compromised public relations, impaired job performance, and the development of a negative therapeutic environment.

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