Looking to reduce the likelihood of workplace violence in healthcare, the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety Foundation (IAHSS) released a new Threat Management guideline earlier this month  stating that “healthcare facilities should establish a process and multidisciplinary team to identify, assess, validate, mitigate, and respond to threats of violence or other behaviors of concern.”
The multidisciplinary threat management team should, says IAHSS, identify threats and determine their seriousness and severity. Additionally, IAHSS recommends the team develop intervention plans that protect potential victims and address problems that precipitate threats, document the threat assessment process with privacy and confidentiality in mind, and conduct a review after addressing each threat.
The IAHSS guideline suggests the development of a threat management program “that is informed by data and research in this area.” To do so, IAHSS says that healthcare facilities should designate individuals who are responsible for, amongst other things, educating staff and promoting the reporting of threats; assessing all reports of concerning behavior; implementing timely response plans; and advocating for victims and offering support and counseling if needed.
IAHSS says all healthcare staff should get education — based on their job function and potential risk — about identifying concerning behavior, reporting protocols, activating an emergency response, and documenting threats and incidents.
The new Threat Management guideline was initially developed by the IAHSS Council on Guidelines and incorporated feedback from IAHSS membership, the Emergency Nurses Association, and the American Hospital Association, according to a press release announcing the guideline .
“Implementing the intent of this guideline will be one of the least expensive and effective steps an organization can take to reduce the likelihood of violence,” Tom Smith, chair of the IAHSS Council on Guidelines, said in a statement. “The Threat Management Guideline establishes a framework for healthcare organizations to proactively identify and manage threats of violence. Input from our colleagues at the AHA and ENA helped us enhance the quality and value of the final product.”
The issuing of the guideline comes several months after a report by IAHSS, entitled “Mitigating the Risk of Workplace Violence in Health Care Settings,” encouraged healthcare facilities to take immediate steps to mitigate violent incidents .