SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Hospital and healthcare officials met this past weekend to discuss the rise in violence from patients against healthcare professionals. The rise in attacks on staff has led to CEOs of Central New York hospitals to gather and start a new initiative: Respect and Heal.
The Respect and Heal initiative focuses on respecting the work of healthcare professionals while also allowing them to relax at the end of a stressful day. President and CEO of Oswego Health Mike Backus when talking about work life balance said “when our healthcare workers do get to go home they’re able to settle, they’re able to take their mind off of work.”
Oswego Health also brought in registered nurse Jeremy Donohue. Donohue works in the Emergency Department at Oswego Health. He is a member of the national guard and he served as a medic in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, his fighting did not stop there. Donohue and colleagues were trapped by a patient in the hospital after they got angry. He says “We lost several staff members who could just not get past the fact that they were exposed to that at work.”
Donohue also says threats and attacks “have become more frequent and more violent.” It is this rise in violence that led hospital officials across Central New York to come together with one focus: keep their staff safe. Syracuse Residents are not surprised by this new safety initiative. One resident, Mike Cavallaro says “I don’t know if unsafe is the word but there are times when you get some characters in there and so I can appreciate the feeling of being unsafe in hospitals.”
The violence healthcare workers have experienced reached a breaking point. It is tales like Donohue has told that are becoming just everyday experiences. He said “I have witnessed or experienced death threats, mass shooting threats, bomb threats, and stalking against myself and my coworkers.”
The Respect and Heal Summit of local hospital CEOs is expected to return next year. They are urging legislators to do more to help healthcare workers. You can find Upstate Medical University’s statement on the summit here.