Violence in Healthcare is Rising, RTLS Can Help Protect Healthcare Workers

Allen E Foucht




Bringing the problem to light

Violence within healthcare is at an all-time high, and caregivers are on the front line. Since the start of the pandemic, healthcare worker safety has been in the spotlight not just for protection against COVID-19, but also for protection against verbal and physical abuse toward clinicians. The American Hospital Association (AHA) raised awareness of the issue in March of this year by asking for a federal statute to protect healthcare workers from violence. The media continues to report on the occurrence of increased violence in health systems. Caregivers are in need of solutions that will allow them to call for help.

This is why I work at Midmark RTLS. Using technology, I strive to improve the lives of people, and I know the Midmark real-time locating system (RTLS) can have a positive effect on caregiver safety. In addition to my role with Midmark RTLS, I am also a practicing nurse, and everything I do aims to have a positive impact on nursing. I personally have experienced violence during my nursing shifts. As a transporter, I was grabbed by the neck and there were many times I assisted with de-escalating violent situations in the middle of the night. I feel and see the negative impact this has on our doctors and nurses—high stress, burnout and even suicide. We must do better. 

Recent trends in workplace violence

The AHA requested assistance from the Department of Justice in combating violence against healthcare workers in a letter to the Attorney General. The letter states, “for medical professionals, being assaulted or intimidated can no longer be tolerated as ‘part of the job.’  This unacceptable situation demands a federal answer.” The letter also states healthcare staff should have the same protection as airline employees in violent situations. In January 2022, The Joint Commission echoed the need to protect healthcare workers by adding three new elements of performance (EPs) and updating two existing  EPs requiring hospitals to  take action to mitigate or resolve workplace violence

A recent study found that 44.4% and 67.8% of nurses reported experiencing physical violence and verbal abuse, respectively, between February and June in 2020. Healthcare workers in these situations who can't get to a phone or out of a room need a safe, quick way to signal for help. Midmark RTLS has a solution for staff to be able to call for assistance and have peace of mind that help isn't far away.

Assistance when needed with a push of a button

Midmark RTLS technology helps improve staff duress notifications with wearable locater badges that are equipped with a call button. Midmark RTLS Staff Duress allows caregivers to request immediate help with a push of that call button. Security and others are notified instantly via wireless phones, computer workstations or email. The button press alert includes the staff member's name and location, enabling a timely response to diffuse the situation. Management achieves peace of mind for their staff and an extra layer of security by implementing a mobile duress button.

Cox Medical Center Branson in Missouri made an investment in their staff’s safety by implementing the Midmark RTLS Staff Duress solution when assaults on workers tripled after 2019. Employees currently wear badges equipped with call buttons to notify security if they are in a potentially dangerous or difficult situation and need assistance.

“Personal Panic Buttons are one more tool in the battle to keep our staff safe and further demonstrate this organization’s commitment to maintaining a safe work and care environment.”  – Alan Butler, CoxHealth Director of Safety and Security.

The technology you need with the support you deserve

As a nurse, I am thankful that healthcare systems such as CoxHealth are addressing the safety needs of their caregivers with the use of Midmark RTLS Staff Duress. The technology side of the Staff Duress solution is rich in data and provides insight for process improvements with the help of our customer success team. With the data collected from our Staff Duress solution, health systems can better understand the areas of their facilities experiencing the most violence or confrontations and adjust protocols and staffing accordingly. 

RTLS technology can do many things, from asset tracking to patient flow. The functional aspects of the technology are vital, but so are the customer success processes that Midmark RTLS brings to the table. These processes drive best practices, better utilization, compliance and ongoing growth to implement the Staff Duress solution and how to respond to it appropriately.  Depending on where it’s deployed in the facility, we will continually adjust by learning what current processes are and how it works best for their staff.

To learn more about health systems using Midmark RTLS Staff Duress, read the case study about Trinitas Regional Medical Center.