This story about a patient attacking a security guard at a New Hampshire hospital is a perfect example of why all staff in hospitals and clinics really should have some behavior management training. The guard was was simply escorting a man back to his room when the man punched him. Using basic restraints and pepper spray, the guard was able to avoid injury until a police officer could come help.
Read the article here: Patient accused of attacking guard at Elliot Hospital 
Patient violence is a topic we cover a lot in our newsletters, and we in fact have a story about it in the upcoming November issue of Medical Environment Update, as well as a story in the December issue of Briefings in Hospital Security.
There will always be the question of whether weapons have a place in medical clinics and hospitals to help protect staff, but there should always be ongoing training on defensive tactics, as well as de-escalation techniques that can help defuse a situation before it ever gets violent.
I’ve worked as a campus security officer, Emergency Medical Technician, and even as a special education teacher in a high school, and I have been trained on several different behavior management programs. I can tell you that those programs have been instrumental in talking down a fearful patient or emotionally disturbed person who really just needs someone to talk to. At the very least, a light restraint can actually comfort them enough to get them to calm down.
I’d like to know what tactics you are using in your own clinics and hospitals, and let me know about any success stories that you have seen or difficulties in getting the staff on board.
Reply to this post or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe I’ll showcase you in a future story.