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ED takes zero tolerance approach to violence

11 January 2006

ED takes zero tolerance approach to violence

Tauranga Hospital’s emergency department has recently reiterated that it is taking a stronger approach to patients or family members who exhibit violent behaviour within the emergency department.

Tauranga Hospital has been identified by Bay of Plenty Police as a hot spot for aggression and a large part of that problem occurs in the emergency department where alcohol and drugs result in many patients presenting to the ED.

Tauranga Hospital emergency department nurse manager, Marama Tauranga, says that a “Zero Tolerance” policy is critical for ED.

“ED medical and nursing staff need to have zero tolerance of violence if they are to maintain a safe environment for patients, their families and themselves. The summer brings an increased number of people to the ED and this time of year is worse than all the others for violent behaviour. The increased number of patients with alcohol and drug related problems over the summer period contributes to more violent behaviour which makes if difficult or impossible for us to care for either that patient or others,” says Ms Tauranga.

Ms Tauranga explains that while the hospital is vigorously practicing “zero tolerance”, it is not just a matter of throwing out an angry patient in the first instance.

“Zero tolerance” involves a three or four-tiered approach any violent patients, including steps to explain and stop unacceptable behaviour. Removing the patient with the help of security staff is just one option in the process and we do need to do that in some circumstances.”

Tauranga Hospital general manager, Alan Wilson, says that ED staff provide an excellent service to people in often difficult circumstances.

“It is important that staff are able to provide care to all the patients that present to ED - we cannot have a few individuals impacting on the care that other patients receive, or putting our staff or others in dangerous situations,” says Mr Wilson.


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