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SJHH / Quality & Performance/ A Commitment to Transparency/ Violence Prevention

Prevention of Violence

Dear Community members:

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is committed to providing a safe and respectful workplace and care environment, and to treating our employees and patients with respect, dignity, and sensitivity.

Violence is never acceptable and St. Joseph’s is working with its staff to become a leader in workplace safety.

St. Joseph’s has been implementing a number of initiatives to create a safer workplace for our staff and patients, and a stronger culture of workplace safety and reporting. Below is a synopsis of some of the progress.

To provide some context, St. Joseph’s requested an external peer review in the spring of 2016 after a series of incidents of aggression and violence against staff in late 2015 - early 2016. We recognized that we needed an objective outside perspective to supplement the work we were continuing internally. The reviewers reported that St. Joseph’s “has taken strong and effective action to enhance safety for staff and patients” and “responded to the recent cluster of incidents swiftly and effectively.”

The report provided six categories of recommendations. St. Joseph’s accepted all of the recommendations and has implemented or is underway in implementing all of them. This was an ambitious plan, and an important one to ensure a safe environment for everyone.

Changes and progress in our continuing work to create a safer workplace environment and culture include:

  • Improved and standardized methods of assessing potential for aggressive behaviour, followed up with the best care plans for patients, and consistent re-assessments.
  • New methods of ensuring all staff will recognize potential of aggressive behaviours .
  • Refined reporting of incidents of violence, staff safety issue and strong communication to ensure such issues are reported and managed to ensure staff safety
  • Improved methods of ensuring the right staff get the right training to de-escalate aggressive behaviours.
  • Safewards model is being implemented across mental health and addiction programs to improve safety. St. Joseph’s will become a leader in this evidence-based best practice model of care in Ontario when the expansion of this program is complete. The model is proven to reduce conflict through proactive interventions and staff skill development.
  • Each unit in mental health conducts daily safety briefings and huddles. These forums provide opportunities for brief and focused daily team conversations to share current and potential safety concerns and develop plans to reduce risks.
  • Improved process of collecting and analyzing information about incidents of aggression which can then help to determine evidence-based changes to improve staff and patient safety.
  • Respectful flagging of patient who may have responsive behaviours in certain circumstances to ensure optimal care and staff awareness

St. Joseph’s recognize that ongoing continuous improvement will be required in our efforts to create the safest environment possible for our staff and patients.

Please follow this link to see the full External Peer Review, as well as Recommendations and Strategies, outlining the work on each recommendation.

David Higgins, President St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton