Alaska’s hospitals have seen a significant increase in workplace violence in the last year, generally patient on caregiver or family member on caregiver violence. ASHNHA is working to identify the best method of collecting data to quantify this uptick in violence. Anecdotally, we know that violence has escalated dramatically.
We are also working to address the issue by offering a toolkit on best practice to prevent workplace violence, providing hospitals with individualized assessments to help improve workplace safety and sharing best practices. The goal is for all facilities to implement best practices to reduce aggressive behavior and risk to hospital staff. At the same time, we will focus on problems in the criminal justice/law enforcement systems that are contributing to the increase in workplace violence.
The Alaska Legislature is currently considering SB 54: Crime and Sentencing which is being monitored for potential impacts. The bill was placed on the Governor’s call for the 4th Special Session to address changes in criminal sentencing. The bill would increase discretion for judges to utilize different amounts of jail time as a sanction for certain offenses, add requirements for probation, and implement technical changes that have been identified by the criminal justice system. The Legislature is also examining other aspects of reform, such as recidivism reduction efforts, to assess how those efforts are impacting Alaskans. The Alaska Criminal Justice Commission released their 2017 Annual Report (see Resources below) in regard to Alaska’s criminal justice system reform efforts.
ASHNHA has formed a Workplace Violence Task Force to help define the problem and develop solutions. Any ASHNHA member who would like to participate is welcome to join. If you would like to be part of the task force contact Natasha McClanahan.