Emergency Departments (ED) have been identified as high-risk areas for patient related violence (PRV). The aim of the present study was to analyse recorded events of violence in a regional Victorian hospital ED, and examine the association these events had with substance abuse.
A retrospective cohort study was undertaken to establish the incidence of PRV. Data were obtained from the hospital's incident management system, RiskMan, over a five and a half year period for all violent events categorised as Code Grey (CG) and Code Black (CB). The Haddon Matrix attached to the individual incident record was also reviewed.
A total of 548 violent events were analysed. The incident rate was 3.4 per 1000 ED presentations. Intoxication was the primary reason for violent escalations. There was no association between the frequency of CG events and the day of the week, month of admission, or shift of the day. Intoxicated men (110, 64.3%) were more likely to be the instigator of a violent event compared with intoxicated females (61, 35.7%) (OR 1.5, 95% CI: 1.19-2.02, p<0.001). A form of restraint, chemical, physical or both, was used in the majority of violent events (376, 68.6%).
This study demonstrated an increasing frequency of violent events in the regional ED. Rates of PRV were comparable to those reported in metropolitan hospitals. Intoxication was the most frequently observed underlying factor for PRV. Regional hospitals are in need of additional resources to instigate policies and procedures that will maximise patient and staff safety.