Sharing leadership expertise on implementing workplace violence legislation in a home care organization

Sharing leadership expertise on implementing workplace violence legislation in a home care organization

Written by CarePartners

CarePartners is committed to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace and strives to exceed legislative requirements by continuously reviewing several key performance indicators related to workplace violence as well as implementation of prevention programs and processes to reduce or eliminate occurrences.

Clear and concise communication is key to ensuring consistent messaging at all levels of the organization, regardless of position. It is important, through our policy and program related to workplace violence that all workplace parties are informed of their roles and responsibilities both in preventing and reporting any acts of workplace violence. Communication through education and training includes, but not limited to mandatory in-services related to workplace violence and other sector specific hazards within the workplace, monthly newsletters, safety talks, and voicemail/e-mail blasts as required.

When an incident of workplace violence occurs, a root cause analysis is conducted by members of our Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) department, which may include Labour Relations, Operations and Professional Practice as necessary.  Involving our Professional Practice lead expert in Dementia Care, provides us with valuable tools that can be utilized to decrease and/or eliminate triggers within the patient and/or his/her environment.  It is important that the joint health and safety committees and/or health and safety representatives participate in the prevention of workplace violence through conducting regular meetings to discuss strategies appropriate to the circumstances.

All referrals received by our funder are reviewed to identify any potential hazards related to workplace violence such as (but not limited to) the presence of weapons in the home, mental health concerns, addiction, or high crime areas within the community.  When a hazard is identified, safety plans are developed and communicated to all front line employees, documented in our scheduling software program and assigned to our flagging system; it is a requirement to conduct joint visits into the home between the Supervisor and front line worker prior to service delivery. Often times planning includes both internal and external stakeholders such as the local funder (i.e. Local Health Integration Network), the patient and their family members, supervisor and front line employee at appropriate intervals during the planning stages. As required, safe visit strategies are implemented based on the individual situation and reviewed to ensure relevance.

As part of our continuous improvement process, our Professional Practice team has identified the need to revise our Behaviour Support Program to include responsive behaviors as a “special function” within our organization, along with a tool kit aimed at better understanding the patient.  The goal of identifying patients with responsive behaviours as a “special function” is to ensure the worker remains injury free, patient remains safe, disruptive response behaviors are minimized, and the patient is engaged in activities that are meaningful to the patient.

Workers are supported by their Manager to report any episodes of new disruptive responsive behaviours so that further strategies and planning can occur. Prior to the front-line employee providing care to a patient who has been identified with responsive behaviours, the worker must receive appropriate training regarding the specific triggers and such training included in the care plan. All special functions are noted in the scheduling system with the intent that only trained workers who are familiar with the patient are assigned to provide care.

To remain abreast of all workplace incidents, our OHS department provides bi-weekly incident reports to our leadership team, participates in bi-weekly teleconferences to discuss all incidents and action plans to prevent recurrence.