The Nova Scotia government has accepted 12 recommendations for improving safety and security in emergency rooms in facilities across the province.
The recommendations range from performing risk assessments to having an alert system in place that would notify staff of potentially dangerous situations.
“The safety of nurses, physicians, staff, patients and families at emergency departments across the province is very important to all of us,” Premier Stephen McNeil said in a release.
“I thank this group for its time and expertise. We accept these recommendations. We want to work with our partners in health care. Helping to improve workplace safety is good for all of us.”
The recommendations were made by a working group established after an incident at Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in October, 2016, when a man entered the emergency department with a gun.
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The report says there were 61 violent incidents reported in emergency rooms in Nova Scotia last year, and adds that not all violent incidents and threats are formally reported.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) says the various recommendations will be put into practice over the coming months. It’s committed to giving a status update in a year’s time.
The 12 recommendations are:
- Have NSHA and unions work together on ways to reduce workplace violence
- Perform risk assessments for each community emergency department to determine their safety and security needs
- Implement a provincial workplace violence prevention program, including training, debriefing and investigation procedures for staff
- Offer education such as non-violent crisis intervention training to staff
- Give staff who may be alone with patients or family members communication devices to call for help if needed
- Set up an NSHA-wide system to track incident and injury reports, training records and compliance reports, and provide data for future safety planning
- Put an alert system in place that will notify other staff of potential danger and if a patient needs specialized care
- Ensure staff can report workplace violence in multiple ways such as on paper or with a smartphone or tablet
- Update emergency planning policies and ensure that staff know how to respond to incidents if and when they occur
- Develop a protocol that will ensure unions are notified of significant workplace violence incidents so they can help support staff along with the NSHA