A study investigating the discrepancy between actual and reported incidents of violence and aggression perpetrated by service users against nursing staff in one NHS learning disability service
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractThis presentation reports on research carried out within the learning disability division of a major Mental Health NHS Trust in the North of England and relates to the violence and aggression directed towards staff by service users. It sought to identify the extent of the discrepancy between the actual and reported number of incidents of violence and aggression. A further aim of the research concerned the reasons given for such under-reporting, particularly whether these accorded with the literature. The literature review demonstrated that violence is a particular issue for nurses, especially those working in the areas of mental health and learning disability services, where studies have indicated that as many as 1 in 5 may be affected. The population selected were nursing staff currently working with people with learning disabilities in a variety of NHS settings. These settings comprised respite, assessment & treatment, medium secure, residential and community areas of care. A questionnaire was subsequently distributed to all learning disability nurses currently employed in the Trust, a total of 411, with a response rate in excess of 40%. The study revealed that a discrepancy does exist between actual and reported incidents of violence and aggression within the learning disability service. It also clearly differentiated between the reasons attributed to the prevalence of such under-reporting. It confirmed previous claims that the predominant difficulty is cultural, violence being regarded as part of the job and non-reporting primarily revolving around perceptions of incidents being considered 'minor', not worth the time to complete the paperwork. The study concludes that more work is needed to achieve a united, consistent approach across the NHS, in order that a high quality, accessible service for people with learning disabilities and complex needs can be delivered without violence being considered an acceptable part of the job; it needs to be acknowledged, though, that the systems are already in place to achieve this, they need to be utilized more effectively. It also suggests that services should re-think the notion of 'minor', which is misleading at best, when applied to the issue of violence and aggression.
CitationIn I. Needham, M., Kingma, L. O'Brien-Pallas, K. McKenna, R. Tucker and N. Oud (Eds), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Workplace Violence in the Health Sector - Together, Creating a Safe Work Environment. Dwingeloo, The Netherlands: Kavanah, 2008.
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