The commitment to address and work to end violence in our communities and hospitals is a priority for all members of the hospital staff and care teams. Often, our volunteer workforce is on the front lines confronting these incidences of violence.

With summer now upon us, and as temperatures rise, hospitals and health systems are committed to addressing and curbing the summer spike trend in violent crimes. Consider the following from a 2014 Bureau of Justice Statistics report:

  • Aggravated assault rates were higher during the summer than during the winter, spring and fall.
  • Rates of violence involving weapons and violence resulting in serious injury were higher in the summer.
  • Rape and sexual assault victimization rates tended to be higher during the summer than during the fall and winter.
  • Rates of intimate partner violence were higher during the summer than during the winter, spring and fall.

Staff and care teams of various roles and responsibilities in America’s hospitals and health systems treat victims of violence every day. These caregiver take steps to prevent violence in their facilities and beyond the four walls. Meg Fallows, volunteer coordinator at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Wash., recently discussed the breadth of the her volunteer workforce and how they are helping to combat violence.

“Volunteers give their time and skills without any thought of remuneration. As they are often the first and last interaction with guests, volunteers affect readmission rates and enhance the patient experience positively,” Fallows says.

Fallows goes on to underscore that volunteers are members of staff and that they need to have the same training as all other members of staff so they know how to intervene and who to contact if they observe violent behavior in others. Listen to the full podcast interview here, and visit www.aha.org/hav for more resources on curbing violence. 

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