Addressing hospital violence a priority for Health Sciences North

Health Sciences North is looking to develop an action plan to better deal with and report workplace violence against its staff.
Health Sciences North is looking at ways to tackle workplace violence against its staff, following a call to action from the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions.

Health Sciences North is looking to develop an action plan to better deal with and report workplace violence against its staff.

Recently, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions called for action on workplace violence.

It says 69 per cent of polled registered practical nurses and personal support workers in Sudbury say they have experienced at least one physical violent incident in the hospital in the past year.

Across Ontario, 68 per cent of practical nurses and personal support workers say they've experienced violence on the job.

Joe Pilon, the hospital's chief operating officer, says the hospital will examine ways to reduce the number of violent incidents staff members face from patients and families.

Joe Pilon is the chief operating officer at Health Sciences North in Sudbury. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

"Is it education, is it training, is it actually having fines for people, or assault charges? I'm not sure what the right answers are and there's never going to be a single one," he said.

No acceptable reason

"We need to make sure this is one of our priorities and we have already established that at Health Sciences North."

Pilon says there are numerous reasons why patients or their families might react violently against staff members.

"It could be anxiety, it could be drug reactions, it could be some other kind of a response. None of them are acceptable," he said.

Pilon says the province's advisor on the quality of health care, Health Quality Ontario, demands that the plan be presented by April 1st.

"What Health Quality Ontario wants is a picture for the province to understand the magnitude of this problem, then say this needs to be a priority for all hospitals."

With files from Benjamin Aubé


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