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Our work at NorthShore University Health System

04.25.17 by Amy Jones

At the end of 2016, we were approached by the Learning and Development team at NorthShore University Health System.  They wanted us to create an in-person de-escalation training to supplement the online training they had already offered to their staff working in their high-risk areas, starting with the Emergency Departments.

It’s no wonder they were concerned – OSHA has identified healthcare facilities (along with social service agencies) as the workplaces that experience the highest level of workplace violence.   Workplace violence accounts for as many as 10% of serious workplace violence injuries in the healthcare industry (it’s closer to 3% in other large industries).   OSHA recommends both self-defense training and de-escalation training for healthcare staff.  This is a little bit of a head-scratcher for us at Thousand Waves, since we see de-escalation as part of self-defense.  Nonetheless, we were happy to work with NorthShore to develop training.

In December, we did a pilot session with staff from Learning and Development and stakeholders in the Emergency Department, and throughout the month of February, we rolled out the training to the first of 4 hospitals in the NorthShore system.  The trainings begin with a reminder of the content of the online modules, and some basic practice scenarios.  Then, working with professional actors who portray the escalated patients, staff participants role play common situations and practice the verbal and positioning skills of de-escalation.  Next, participants learn non-injurious emergency physical self-defense skills  they can use to keep themselves safe until Public Safety personnel arrive.  Finally, staff are encouraged to report incidents and access help to allow them to heal in the aftermath of violence.

All staff fill out evaluations at the end of each 2-hour training, and feedback has been very positive.  We look forward to continuing to work with NorthShore to deliver this programming to other hospitals.

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