Sharing leadership expertise on implementing workplace violence legislation in a hospital

Sharing leadership expertise on implementing workplace violence legislation in a hospital

Written by The Ottawa Hospital

At The Ottawa Hospital, preventing violence and responding to it promptly and effectively is a high priority element of our strategic focus on both the worker and patient experience. The keys to ongoing success and improvement have been collaboration, effective use of the internal responsibility system, and leadership commitment.

All employees are required to participate in violence awareness and prevention training, including workplace harassment. The specifics and length of training depend on the type of work and level of risk. We use Non-Violent Crisis Intervention as well as Gentle Persuasive Approach training, and have partnered with the Ottawa Police Services and Algonquin College to design and provide training for our security team. We hold each other accountable and track compliance with training very closely to ensure no-one falls between the cracks.

We have a Violence Prevention Working group that includes stakeholders from the Joint Health and Safety Committees and management. The group is provided time each month and empowered to work on continuous improvement projects as well as ensuring that all incidents related to violence are handled and investigated effectively and keeping our ongoing risk assessments on track. The group is chaired by a front line employee and provides monthly reports to all of our JHSCs and provides recommendations to senior leaders as well.

The JHSC is directly involved in the investigation of serious incidents. They evaluate the various training programs provided to staff. They developed a standardized tool they use during their monthly work place inspections to evaluate violence training and worker compliance with procedures related to violence flags, code whites and other program elements. They use this tool to provide immediate and actionable feedback to department leaders.

Risk assessments are performed in collaboration with unit leaders, front line workers, and the JHSCs. We monitor the timeliness of assessments and follow up reports, and track the implementation of recommendations until completion. Once an action plan for a unit is reported as complete by the operational leader, the JHSC follows up to evaluate the effectiveness of recommendations.

We have a single integrated system for staff to report safety issues involving both patients and workers, called our Safety Learning System. The system allows the worker member to provide suggestions on how to prevent a similar incident in the future. It also includes functionality to track the results of incident investigation and corrective actions and the person who reported the incident gets these updates as well. Reporting is context specific, and reports on violent incidents have specific questions to help drive effective follow up and to ensure that harassment concerns are immediately routed to our dedicated Conflict Resolution team. The system is used by all workers, including physicians and volunteers.

We have made it a priority to ensure that management, unions, front line workers, and medical staff collaborate together to make improvements. We’ve also tried to ensure that we have effective governance in place so that we are identifying risks, acting on them, and closing the loop to make sure that we follow through on implementation.