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Aggression and Violence in a Mental Health Units Essay

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Assaults in the healthcare setting are recognized as a growing problem. In considering the violence and aggression in mental health units, the larger issue of violence and aggression in mainstream culture must not be ignored. It has been observed that physical attack in a mental health unit setting appear to be happening more frequently while the attacks include patient-to patient and patient-to-staff aggressive behavior. Most commonly, reporting of aggressive behavior toward healthcare staff is noted; however, it cannot be completely explained by patient characteristics or staff member behaviors (Foster, Bowers, & Nijman, 2006). To improve patient control of aggression and violence, an organization must better define the management and reporting of this behavior, identify appropriate management programs and training, and evaluate the frequency and precipitants.
The impact of aggression and violence in mental health units is substantial. Effects that have been documented include physical injury, emotional and psychological harm, compromised patient care, and financial expense to the organization. In a review of literature, physical injury to inpatient mental health staff is high and poses a strong threat to staff and other patients (Foster, Bowers, & Nijman, 2006). Although the rates of victimization that occur between patients are low, it is an increasing concern. In these acts of aggression, both verbal and physical violence can occur.

Aggression Management
To manage the aggression both for patient and staff victims, Eileen Morrison and Colleen Love (2003) evaluated four aggression management programs using predetermined criteria for their effectiveness in training behavioral health staff. Morrison and Love’...


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in psychiatric inpatient units. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 34, 967-974.
Bowers, L., Allan, T., Simpson, A., Nijman, H., & Warren, J. (2007). Adverse Incidents, Patient
Flow and Nursing Workforce Variables on Acute Psychiatric Wards: The Tompkins Acute Ward Study. International Journal of Social Psychiatry 53(75), 75-84.
Foster, C., Bowers, L., & Nijman, H. (2007). Aggressive behavior on acute psychiatric wards:
prevalence, severity, and management. Journal of Advanced Nursing 58(2), 140-149.
Ilkiw-Lavalle, O., & Grenyer, B. (2003). Differences between Patient and Staff Perceptions of
Aggression in Mental Health Units. Psychiatric Services 54(3), 389-393.
Morrison, E., & Love, C. (2003). An Evaluation of Four Programs for the Management of
Aggression in Psychiatric Settings. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing 37(4), 146-155.


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