World Patient Safety Day

World Patient Safety Day, established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in an effort to recognize patient safety as a global health priority, takes place annually on September 17, and PRMS Director of Risk Management, Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD, recently shared her thoughts on the subject to members of the Florida Psychiatric Society. To further the efforts of mental health awareness and safety for the greater healthcare community, PRMS is pleased to feature Miss Vanderpool as she shares more about this campaign and its 2020 theme of “safe health workers, safe patients.”

The WHO’s World Patient Safety Day took place last month on September 17, focusing on the theme of healthcare worker safety for 2020.  Nothing has brought the issue of healthcare worker safety to the forefront like today’s COVID-19 world has, and healthcare workers around the world are risking their lives daily to keep COVID patients safe – and alive. In addition to the threats COVID-19 poses to health workers, what continues to remain important as it relates to healthcare worker safety is patient violence directed at psychiatrists. Here’s what we know:

  • Psychiatrists can be stalked by patients. Risk management tips include:
    • Pay attention to how your behavior could unknowingly reinforce the patient’s pursuit.
    • If you need to contact police, be mindful of confidentiality.
  • 40% to 50% of psychiatric residents are attacked by a patient during their residency training.
  • While the annual rate of workplace violence is 12.6 per 100,000 for all occupations, it is 16.2 per 100,000 for physicians, and 68.2 per 100,000 for psychiatrists and mental health professionals.
  • Psychiatrists can be the victim of a patient’s homicide. Risk management tips include:
    • For direct threats of violence, consider informing law enforcement. Remember that your safety is paramount.
    • Evaluate the need for:
      • Involuntary hospitalization
      • A restraining order
      • A criminal complaint

While it is important to keep in mind that some psychiatric patients may pose a risk of danger, remember that most patients are not violent. For more on this topic, including additional safety tips, click here for our article titled, “Violence Against Psychiatrists.”

To learn more about the superior psychiatry-specific insurance program and comprehensive services offered by PRMS, click here.

Authored by PRMS.

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