As part of our new campaign to help reduce violence and aggression and keep our hospitals safe, we are encouraging everyone to take a moment and think about what others may be going through.
Trauma ward manager, The Royal London Hospital
“Violence and aggression is not pretty, but there is a lot of work happening to manage it better. We tend to focus on the negative incidents, which are rare and we must remember we have reduced so many and we don’t celebrate it enough.
A complex trauma patient came onto my ward at a time when strict Covid visitor restrictions were in place. The longer he stayed the worse his behaviour got due to frustration around not seeing loved ones.
The patient was shouting, swearing, threatening staff, and throwing objects on the ward. I have to look after the staff, as well as the patients and it’s not what you come into work for. You expect to come to work, do you job and be safe.
We introduced the use of body worn cameras and these have helped de-escalate quite a lot of patients on my ward. Having the camera on gives an added layer of protection and it’s amazing how much it improves behaviour - however the cameras did not make a difference with this patient.
As a ward leader I was quite unsettled and the atmosphere was tense. It made me feel uneasy as I knew the abuse wasn’t fair on my team, but I also had to think about the detrimental impact on the patient.
We discuss patients who are being aggressive in our ward rounds and make sure we involve all the relevant people. We take a different approach and try to understand the behaviour - it involves a lot of conversations between the teams.
In this instance, my team worked with physiotherapists to sit him out on a chair, a psychologist to draw out a behaviour contract and a ward-based charity we work with, St Giles supported too.
Our team of professionals coordinated visits with his family and friends outside the hospital building and his behaviour improved very quickly.
I feel that this was my best experience of seeing violence and aggression being addressed.”