A day in June reminds all at HonorHealth on the vital need for empathy for others
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting a disproportionate number of health care employees have found themselves the victim of workplace violence — typically from relatives or domestic partners of those they encounter who need their immediate help.
“The high-quality care we provide at HonorHealth is a reflection of the extraordinary people who choose to work here,” said Kim Post, HonorHealth chief operating officer. “Acts of harassment and violence toward health care workers is a serious, and increasing, challenge to the work we do. It impacts all of us. I am proud to be a part of an organization that prioritizes the safety of our caregivers, patients, visitors and community members.”
Bureau of Labor statistics show from 2011 to 2018, there were 156 workplace homicides to private health care workers, averaging about 20 each year. The most common assailant in workplace homicides to healthcare workers was a relative or domestic partner of the injured worker, research shows.
Furthermore, the Bureau reports health care and social service industries experience the highest rates of injuries caused by workplace violence and are five times as likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than workers overall.
“It’s a real problem that affects our patients, their families, our staff, and it’s getting worse.” said Bill Baer, who serves as a communications professional at HonorHealth HQ in Scottsdale. “Hospitals Against Violence Day is June 2 and HonorHealth has a number of programs in place to make our six medical centers as safe as possible. Health care workers are the antithesis of violence, they are in the business of treating patients, healing communities, and saving lives.”
HonorHealth network keeps focus on the vital need for empathy for others
The latest workplace violence statistics are alarming, HonorHealth officials point out, as the local health care provider works regularly to provide awareness of warning signs at the workplace.
Hospitals Against Violence Day is a National Day of Awareness, which Mr. Baer explains was Friday to highlight how America’s hospitals and health systems are combating violence in the workplaces and local communities.
According to James Marconato, one of the HonorHealth K-9 Training Supervisors, here’s an example of how his specialized unit works to help alleviate escalating situations.
“A combative patient in an HonorHealth emergency room is screaming and throwing items while the physician tries to talk to her,” he explained of the real-life scenarios medical professionals face routinely.
“An HonorHealth K-9 security team arrives and stands outside the door. Suddenly, a tense and potentially dangerous situation is instantly diffused by the mere presence of the handler and the dog. The patient calms down, listens to the doctor, and agrees to cooperate.”
Since calendar year 2000, the HonorHealth K-9 program has been funded by the HonorHealth Foundation whereas canines and their handlers go through a strict six-week training program through the National Police Canine Association.
The training, Mr. Marconato says, includes basic and advanced obedience training, and handler protection. At the completion of the academy, the dogs are prepared to provide protection as well as being handled and touched under the officer’s permission almost in a “therapy” type of atmosphere. The dogs can help create a calming effect for patients and staff, system wide.
“The K-9 teams are here for many reasons,” said Robin Teed, another HonorHealth K-9 Training Supervisor. “The dogs are very social and love the attention. Five minutes with a K-9 goes a long way on a stressful day. We are here to help in any way possible.”
Mike Morgan, the HonorHealth administrator who oversees K-9 program operations, contends the program has become a real boon to keeping staff safe and patients calm.
“The K-9 program, just like the entire security department, is here to protect and serve the HonorHealth staff community whenever they are needed,“ he said.