Violent crime in hospitals fell steeply last year, according to research from the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS).
A survey of 326 providers in the U.S. found violent incidents dropped from 2.8 per 100 hospital beds in 2014 to .09 per 100 beds in 2015, a decline of nearly 70 percent. The specific reason for the reduction is difficult to pin down, author Karim H. Vellani, president of Threat Analysis Group LLC, told Campus Safety Magazine. Increased security as hospital violence became a hot-button issue may have played a role, he said, but the actual cause of the dip isn't clear.
Despite the reduction in violent crime overall, assault increased slightly last year from 7.8 incidents per 100 beds to 8.1. However, both years represent a significant drop from 2013's rate of 11.1 incidents per 100 beds. Of the assaults reported, most were directed against employees by patients, students or other recipients of hospital services. Disorderly conduct, meanwhile, also increased from 18.8 incidents per 100 beds in 2014 to 21.4 incidents per 100 beds in 2015 but again those figures represented a steep drop from 2013's rate of 39.2 incidents per 100 beds. Burglary and theft both fell by about 20 percent compared to 2014, while motor vehicle thefts flatlined.
Healthcare leaders have long been concerned about violence in hospitals, debating the merits of various solutions. Some ideas have included training nurses in de-escalation tactics, hiring armed guards and proactive approaches that highlight the causes of violence rather than simply reacting to incidents as they occur, FierceHealthcare previously reported.