Massachusetts hospitals adopt united code of conduct to combat workplace violence

The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association has adopted a united code of conduct to protect workers and patients from escalating violence in the state's healthcare facilities. 

The code was established in response to the MHA's new workplace violence report, which found someone in a Massachusetts healthcare facility is physically assaulted, verbally abused or threatened every 38 minutes — up from every 49 minutes in 2021, and every 57 minutes in 2020. 

The MHA's report also noted that 96 percent of violent incidents at hospitals are carried out by patients, visitors or non-hospital employees, and 33 percent are committed by repeat offenders. Emergency departments are the most common location for violent incidents (38 percent), followed by inpatient units (31 percent) and psychiatric units (19 percent). 

The new united code of conduct, approved by the board of trustees on Jan. 26, lays the groundwork for a "safe and respectful environment." It lists conduct violations as disrespectful, aggressive, abusive, or violent behaviors or actions; threatening, discriminatory, bullying, disrespectful, or offensive language; possession of weapons or firearms; disruption of other patients' care or experience; and taking photos or videos of patients, visitors, and/or staff without permission. Consequences include an offender being asked to leave the facility and/or seek care elsewhere, and reporting to the appropriate authorities. 

"These principles set firm, direct expectations among everyone who enters a healthcare facility in Massachusetts — no matter where that might be," Therese Hudson-Jinks, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer, chief experience officer and senior vice president of patient care services at Boston-based Tufts Medical Center, said in a Jan. 30 news release. 

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