The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) shared with rural hospital leaders at a recent Hospitals Against Violence-sponsored workshop how they worked with community stakeholders to develop an evidence-based toolkit to prevent violence against hospital workers that other organizations can replicate or tailor to their needs. 

“We wanted to see where we could collaborate on these issues instead of just finding a legislative fix,” said Katie Harris, director of rural health and federal policy at OAHHS. 

She said OAHHS leaders believe that investing in safety and prevention programs is crucial to their members’ success. 

“We want employees at our hospitals to feel safe, since this definitely impacts them, both physically and mentally, and contributes to burnout and absenteeism,” Harris said.

OAHHS piloted the project in small, large, urban and rural hospitals and health systems. 

“We wanted something that would be instructional for hospitals where they could really just take the documents, chapters and tools and develop, implement and sustain their own programs from it,” Harris said. 

For example, the toolkit includes a gap analysis document that walks organizations through aspects of workplace violence prevention to identify where their own gaps lie, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to prioritize areas on which to focus. 

Harris said that one of the biggest results from the pilot program and finished toolkit was a marked increase in staff involvement and appreciation for workplace violence prevention. 

She said the project also showed Oregon hospital leaders and others that workplace violence prevention and patient safety programs are most successful when different experts and stakeholders come together to collaborate to improve their shared work, she said. 

OAHHS presented the project in February at the AHA Rural Health Care Leadership Conference in Phoenix.

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