Hospital aims to reduce gun violence by treating it like drug abuse

A new program at a Seattle hospital is testing an innovative solution to gun violence: treating it the same way it deals with substance abuse.

The Harborview Medical Center program began after 2014 research showed that patients admitted for gun-related injuries are more likely to be readmitted for gunshot wounds, commit a crime or be murdered, according to The Trace

The idea of gunshot victims as a testing ground for addressing sociodemographic public health issues is not a new one, but Harborview patterned its model after interventions for other health issues. For example, the program adopts strategies typically used in alcohol or substance abuse interventions, such as physicians and social workers maintaining communication with patients after discharge.

Under the proposed model, after Harborview staff treat patients' gunshot wounds, social workers will interview them and brainstorm reasons to avoid high-risk behaviors. The social workers will then schedule face-to-face meetings with victims and their family, and analyze the role of guns in victims' lives over 12 sessions, developing strategies for anger management and conflict resolution, according to the article.

Harborview's plan comes at a time when hospital staff in general and nurses in particular face heightened risk of violence themselves; workplace violence nearly doubled for nurses and nurse assistants between 2012 and 2014, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In response, individual states are taking steps to safeguard them against violence. For example, in July, North Carolina made acts of violence in hospitals a felony, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the article

Related Articles
Intervention programs help violence victims after hospital discharge
North Carolina law to make hospital violence a felony may have unintended consequences
What healthcare providers can do to prevent violence
Beth Israel Deaconess lowers readmissions with post-discharge program
Follow up with patients after discharge
To reduce readmissions, focus on patient, not condition
Hospitals combat violence against workers
Nurses under-report violence, saying it's a "waste of time"
States seek solutions to hospital violence