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Am J Emerg Med ; 53: 285.e1-285.e5, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432719


STUDY OBJECTIVES: COVID-19 brought unique challenges; however, it remains unclear what effect the pandemic had on violence in healthcare. The objective of this study was to identify the impact of the pandemic on workplace violence at an academic emergency department (ED). METHODS: This mixed-methods study involved a prospective descriptive survey study and electronic medical record review. Within our hospital referral region (HRR), the first COVID-19 case was documented on 3/11/2020 and cases peaked in mid-November 2020. We compared the monthly HRR COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people to the rate of violent incidents per 1000 ED visits. Multidisciplinary ED staff were surveyed both pre/early-pandemic (April 2020) and mid/late-pandemic (December 2020) regarding workplace violence experienced over the prior 6-months. The study was deemed exempt by the Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board. RESULTS: There was a positive association between the monthly HRR COVID-19 case rate and rate of violent ED incidents (r = 0.24). Violent incidents increased overall during the pandemic (2.53 incidents per 1000 visits) compared to the 3 months prior (1.13 incidents per 1000 visits, p < .001), as well as compared to the previous year (1.24 incidents per 1000 patient visits, p < .001). Survey respondents indicated a higher incidence of assault during the pandemic, compared to before (p = .019). DISCUSSION: Incidents of workplace violence at our ED increased during the pandemic and there was a positive association of these incidents with the COVID-19 case rate. Our findings indicate health systems should prioritize employee safety during future pandemics.

COVID-19/psychology , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Workplace Violence/statistics & numerical data , Academic Medical Centers/organization & administration , Academic Medical Centers/statistics & numerical data , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Chi-Square Distribution , Crime Victims/rehabilitation , Data Mining/statistics & numerical data , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Female , Health Personnel/psychology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , Surveys and Questionnaires , Workplace Violence/trends