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The value of creating and maintaining a proactive hospital safety program for hospital employees is gaining traction nationwide. Workplace violence against hospital staff members is not uncommon… and it affects employees stationed within soft areas where patients or family members may be volatile after receiving poor medical news – or for other reasons.

An incident at a Geneva, Illinois hospital in 2017, in which a nurse was taken hostage and raped by an armed felon recovering from surgery, was one instance that prompted a new bill to be formed.

“Workplace violence committed against nurses has been increasing in recent years, and something needed to be done in order to prevent future incidents from occurring,” says John Connor, a Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives. “I am hopeful that the Health Care Violence Prevention Act will bring about better safety guidelines to prevent violence toward nurses and allow for better working environments moving forward.”

The Health Care Violence Prevention Act was backed by Connor, and will require hospitals and other health care facilities to develop a workplace violence prevention program to help address increased violence toward registered nurses. The law, which will take effect in January 2019, will also require hospitals and correctional agencies to reference Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines to establish protocols for the intake and treatment of incarcerated individuals and for in-hospital emergencies. Whistleblower protections will also be created for nurses who take action on instances of workplace violence, protecting them from backlash.

Along with this bill, hospitals have the opportunity to use currently existing technology to help prevent incidents from escalating. HealthGuard Alert can blanket soft areas with easy-to-install and simple-to-use computer panic button software. These buttons discreetly notify security task forces and can provide extremely accurate location data (down to the floor and room number) to help first responders pinpoint the person in need.

Combined with other proactive hospital safety procedures, safety communication technology such as HealthGuard Alert can help to minimize violent incidents at hospitals around the country, effectively cultivating a safe environment for all hospital staff members.

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