1The Institute of Hygiene, Vilnius, Lithuania
In 2013-2014 Institute of Hygiene surveyed mental health nurses to assess psychosocial work factors (including violence at work) in psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric departments and mental health centersin Vilnius. Both quantitative and qualitative studies were carried out. According to the results, 64% of nurses surveyed had experienced at least one incident of psychological violence and half of participants – at least one incident of physical violence at work. The research data shows that considerable number of study participants are facing scarcity of resources to carry out appropriate violence prevention, including: adequate security measures, efficient team work, training in the management of violent behavior, sufficient follow-up review of incidents and victims’ support.
The data reveals the need for improved measures to tackle patients’ violence against nurses in mental health facilities. In 2014 Institute of Hygiene issued recommendations on how to improve psychosocial work environment and prevent patients’ violence against nurses working in mental healthcare institutions. The recommendations are based on the research findings and good practices in various countries. It is recommended to implement measures of primary, secondary and tertiary violence prevention. To reduce risk of violence occurrence primary prevention should be carried out: it is recommended for mental health institutions to establish violence prevention policy, set principles of communication with patients, ensure appropriate environment (psychosocial, clinical, physical and environment that meets patients’ needs), exercise threat assessment and management, and to organize regular training in the management of violent behavior. Secondary prevention should aid to ensure effective immediate response to violence. Tertiary prevention should mitigate damage of violent incident. This prevention includes appropriate reporting and recording of assault incident, comprehensive post-incident review and suitable victims’ support.