Workplace violence is a risk to staff, patients, residents and clients across Ontario’s healthcare sector. Between 2015 and 2017, PSHSA’s Violence, Aggression and Responsive Behaviours (VARB) project has been instrumental in developing tools and resources in partnership with healthcare and labour stakeholders to support healthcare workplaces in reducing and preventing the risk of workplace violence.
In 2017, the first five VARB toolkits were released: Workplace Violence Risk Assessment, Individual Client Risk Assessment, Risk Communication, Security and Personal Safety Response System. As part of this project, an evidence-based evaluation of the VARB toolkits was recently completed to better understand their awareness, use and effectiveness on workplace violence prevention and controls among Ontario’s public hospitals. The evaluation findings were based on an inventory of toolkit use at all Ontario hospitals, in-depth case studies at six hospitals, and interviews with a small number of hospitals that were not using, or not sure if they would use, the toolkits.
Initial results indicate that the tools are making a significant impact across Ontario’s public hospitals, revealing promising uptake and awareness rates. The study found that 75% of Ontario public hospitals are aware of at least one of the VARB toolkits, and that 67% of Ontario public hospitals are using at least one of the VARB toolkits within their organization. The toolkits have also been accessed and used beyond Ontario, by healthcare organizations in other provinces and in the United States. Further, 98% of inventoried hospitals were confident that the toolkits are evidence-informed.
Further to uptake and awareness, the study also found that the toolkits had a positive impact on how hospitals prevent and manage workplace violence. 89% of hospitals reported that use of the toolkits ended up improving their processes, programs and systems to prevent and manage workplace violence. Hospitals used the VARB toolkits to identify and address safety risks, consider safety proactively in planning (i.e. new builds, units or programs), and validate or improve existing practices.
The evaluation results will be used to optimize and improve current tools and related processes, as well as inform future resource development as it relates to workplace violence prevention in healthcare and beyond.
To access the full report and case study summary, visit https://workplace-violence.ca/reducing-violence-health-care-together/.
For more information regarding the VARB project, please contact:
Henrietta Van hulle
Vice President, Client Outreach
Public Services Health & Safety Association