Hospitals must adopt a zero-tolerance mindset toward violence in their facilities and stop accepting the incidents as part of the job or underreporting them to improve patient satisfaction scores, according to Monica Cooke, a mental health registered nurse and risk management consultant with Quality Plus Solutions LLC.

Cooke delivered that message during a Feb. 15 webinar hosted by the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management of the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Cooke notes that more than half of emergency department nurses experience physical or verbal violence in a given week, and the majority do not report the incident.

The costs of such assaults are significant to the hospital, including lost productivity, potential litigation, property damage and diminished public image, Cooke says. She estimates that the cost borne by the hospital in the aftermath of a violent incident is 60 times greater than it would be to invest in violence-prevention programs beforehand.

Hospitals must foster the mindset that any abuse against staff is not tolerated, she says.

Visit our sister publication's website, Hospital & Health Networks, to learn more about the webinar plus four tips to mitigate violence in health care facilities.