Violence towards personnel in out-of-hours primary care

A cross-sectional study
Objective. To investigate (1) the prevalence of occupational violence in out-of-hours (OOH) primary care, (2) the perceived cause of violence, and (3) the associations between occupation, gender, age, years of work, and occupational violence. Design. A cross-sectional study using a self-administered postal questionnaire. Setting. Twenty Norwegian OOH primary care centres. Subjects. Physicians, nurses, and others with patient contact at OOH primary care centres, 536 responders (75% response rate). Main outcome measures. Verbal abuse, threats, physical abuse, sexual harassment. Results. In total, 78% had been verbally abused, 44% had been exposed to threats, 13% physically abused, and 9% sexually harassed during the last 12 months. Significantly more nurses were associated with verbal abuse (OR 3.85, 95% confidence interval 2.17-6.67) after adjusting for gender, age, and years in OOH primary care. Males had a higher risk for physical abuse (OR 2.36, CI 1.11-5.05) and higher age was associated with lower risk for sexual harassment (OR 0.28, CI 0.14-0.59), when adjusted for background variables. Drug influence and mental illness were the most frequently perceived causes for the last occurring episode of physical abuse, threats, and verbal abuse. Conclusion. This first study on occupational violence in Norwegian OOH primary care found that a substantial number of health care workers experience occupational violence from patients or visitors. The employer should take action to prevent occupational violence in OOH primary care.

Source : Joa TS, Morken T. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 2012; 30: 55–60.

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