I have worked in law enforcement, and then later, in healthcare security management. I have seen the atmosphere in hospitals change dramatically in the last approximate 5 years. At one time, violence in a hospital was relatively rare. People treated hospitals as sacrosanct. Now, however, the social contract in the United States (and likely the entire world) is fractured. People seem to more easily, and more quickly, and more explosively, act out in places where our parents and grandparents would have considered as unimaginable.
I ask everyone – and particularly my healthcare colleagues – to take the new reality seriously. It is likely not going away anytime soon.
What I see happening (AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT) is that older programs that once met the needs of hospitals in managing violent patients are now still being used, largely because they are well marketed and well known to the main regulatory and accrediting agencies (i.e., The Joint Commission and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services). Since they are well known to these agencies, hospital leaders often move toward them, always striving to please and satisfy these agencies.
Pleasing and satisfying these regulatory and accrediting agencies are not necessarily bad things, that is, if doing so supports the safety of all persons. If, however, continuing down a particular path is not wise, then it should not matter who says to continue it. Any organization, any person, any entity whatsoever should be challenged when they support (even if tacitly) unsafe practices.
These older and well known programs are, for the most part, still stuck in dealing with a reality which is no more. Do others see this? Reality, in hospitals, in, say, 2010 was very different than it is now. We must, therefore, seek out methodologies and programs which meet the actual needs of today, and are not still addressing what was happening in our hospitals years ago.
I stand behind what I wrote in the Vistelar post. One will not find a more evolved, fitting, and universally applicable program than Verbal Defense & Influence (VDI). With a foundation in the phenomenal work of Dr. George Thompson (the creator of Verbal Judo), and many other components, such as the great work of Gary Klugiewicz, and many others, VDI stands to help us mitigate violence wherever it manifests.
I ask that everyone look soberly at violence in healthcare. There are philosophies and programs – such as VDI – which are effective, in touch with today’s climate, and seeking the well-being all persons. Seek them out!