Posted: September 3rd, 2013
Different types of patient abuse can occur in hospitals, especially with difficult patients. Different forms of abuse include sexual, verbal, mental, physical, and involuntary seclusion (Hegner et al., 2007). Although practitioners are generally patient with patients, some patients can be very difficult, and this makes them hard to manage. Nurses are in a challenging position, considering that they spend most of the times with the patients. They try to ensure that the patients are comfortable, and they have everything they need. When a patient is not cooperative, nurses may be compelled to use physical force on them, as a way of controlling them. Some of the types of physical abuse include giving the patient excess medication, or physically preventing the patients’ movements by tying them to their bed. Some of these measures are extreme, and they are seen on rare occasions. Some seemingly innocent actions might be considered abuse, especially if they end up embarrassing the patient or causing him mental and psychological anguish (Hegner et al., 2007). In order to prevent abuse from taking place in the hospital, it is important to consider the cause of the abuse.
The most likely patients to be abused are the vulnerable, such as children and the elderly (Beebe & Funk, 2001). Different factors can contribute to patient abuse. For instance, some of the patients who are violent towards the nurses and aides, and this may trigger abuse. Nurses and aides can be forced to restrain patients when they are a danger to themselves and to others. This can sometimes be seen as abuse of the patient. Patient abuse is a sensitive issue, especially when the patients are not able to control themselves. Practitioners who have a lot of work overload, and are burdened might lose their tempers easily. In some cases, health practitioners might have personal problems, and they may let out their frustrations on the patients. Other factors such as stress, long working hours, and shortage of staff may trigger work place violence, and might cause the hospital staff to abuse patients (Colling & York, 2009). Knowing the cause of the problem will enable the management to find the right solutions.
There are different ways of preventing abuse in the hospitals. The management should train staff concerning abuse, and dealing with difficult patients. The staff needs to know how to prevent patient abuse. It is important to have a clear definition of abuse. The management should train staff on how they can recognize it. The hospital should have a clear and understandable hospital policy concerning abuse. This will assist the staff in preventing such cases from happening. The hospital policy should include the consequence and retributions of staff accused of abuse. It should also lay out the procedures of conducting investigations to determine abuse cases. The management should prevent some of the factors that can trigger abuse such as long working hours and shortage of staff. It should ensure that hospital staff has a nice environment to work. Restraints are necessary when dealing with dangerous and mentally unstable patients. To avoid any instances of abuse, the health care practitioner should discuss with the patient, and with the patient’s family or loved ones, the necessity of using the restraints, and the type of restraints that will be used. The practitioner should ensure that he or she monitors the patients, and that the restraint does not cause any health effects.
Beebe, W. R., & Funk, L. D. (2001). Fundamentals of emergency care, volume 1. New York, NY: Cengage Learning
Colling, L. R., & York, W. T. (2009). Hospital and healthcare security. United Kingdom: Butterworth-Heinemann
Hegner, R. B., Acello, B., & Caldwell, E. (2007). Nursing assistant: A nursing process approach. New York, NY: Cengage Learning
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