Abuse not part of the job, group insists

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A survey of 3,765 nurses found that almost one-in-four respondents had been physically assaulted while on the job.
A survey of 3,765 nurses found that almost one-in-four respondents had been physically assaulted while on the job.

Nurses are often the targets of physical or verbal abuse from residents and families. The American Nurses Association (ANA) recently announced a zero tolerance policy for violence or abusive behavior.

The ANA cited a survey of 3,765 RNs that found almost one-fourth of respondents had been physically assaulted at work by a patient or a patient's family member. The survey also found up to half of nurses had been bullied in some manner by a peer or a person in a higher level of authority. ANA's statement defines bullying as “repeated, unwanted harmful actions intended to humiliate, offend and cause distress.”

The ANA's new policy includes recommendations to prevent and handle violence like encouraging employees to report incidents of violence, avoiding blaming employees for violence perpetrated by non-employees and developing a violence prevention program aligned with federal health and safety guidelines.

“Taking this clear and strong position is critical to ensure the safety of patients, nurses and other healthcare workers,” wrote ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, Ph.D., in a statement. “Enduring physical or verbal abuse must no longer be accepted as part of a nurse's job.”

Violence against healthcare workers, especially nursing assistants, should be handled with more scrutiny by senior living organizations, according to American Association for Long Term Care Nursing Executive Director Charlotte Eliopoulos, RN, MPH, Ph.D.

“Studies have shown that more than half of certified nursing assistants [CNAs] are victims of assault and battery at least once every week,” Eliopoulos told McKnight's. “Staff need to be better prepared to identify violence-prone individuals, prevent violent acts, and manage them should they occur.”

MISSING THE MARK

More than half of healthcare workers commonly miss parts of their hands when applying hand sanitizer, a new study has found.

Researchers investigated 705 clinicians working in their regular shifts who used an alcohol-based hand sanitizer mixed with a fluorescent marker. Workers' hands were then viewed under a UV lamp to show where the hand sanitizer had been rubbed.

Results found that thumbs were the spot most often missed by sanitizer, with only 37.45% of clinicians completely covering the area. Fingertips and the back of hands rounded out the top three “missed” areas, with just 44.5% and 46.4% of the study subjects completely covering the area, respectively.

Researchers found that the areas in between fingers were reached more regularly, with 74.8% of clinicians covering the area with sanitizer. Palms ranked highest in sanitizer coverage, with 98.9%.Full results appear in the American Journal of Infection Control. 

READMISSION RISK

Seniors are more likely to be admitted to a hospital after outpatient surgery due to misunderstanding discharge and medication instructions, a new study shows.

Researchers examined data from more than 53,000 Americans who had outpatient surgeries in 2012. Of that group, those over age 65 were 54% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days than those younger than 65. Researchers did not include patients' health before surgery as a factor in the study.

“Age was the biggest factor associated with readmission and complications,” said study author Gildasio De Oliveira Jr., M.D., assistant professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. “It's not because they are sicker. It's because they are older and have trouble understanding their discharge instructions and medication dosing, which often are not clearly explained.”

CONVERSATION STARTER

A new guide has been developed to advise physicians on having end-oflife conversations with patients and their families.

The “Serious Illness Conversation Guide” is composed of seven questions that focus on helping patients understand the reality of their medical situation without causing emotional distress. Questions include the patient's concerns and fears, and factors they believe are important to their quality of life.

The guide, which was developed through a collaboration between Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health, is in its second year of efficacy trials. After four years of research, experts hope to determine if the guide helps physicians and patients have more conversations about end-of-life care, and if those conversations take place earlier in the progression of the patient's disease.

IMPROVE TOOLS

MRI scans and other tools used to confirm dementia need to be improved, say investigators.

Study co-author Chris Fox noted that healthcare costs could rise without cause as imaging shortcomings lead to incorrect diagnoses of dementia. Moreover, the psychological costs to patients and families as a result of failed findings could be psychologically devastating, he added. Full findings appear in The Lancet Neurology.

FLU SHOT GUIDANCE

Seniors should be vaccinated for the flu before December, according to new vaccination recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The influenza season typically peaks between December and February. For adults over the age of 65, the flu vaccine's effectiveness can decline “significantly” in the months following vaccination, the CDC noted.

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