Reducing violence and aggression in A&E

1 November 2013
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ReducingViolenceReducing violence and aggression in A&E: Through a better experience
Many people become frustrated during their time in Accident and Emergency departments because of a lack of clear, effective information and guidance. This, combined with anxiety and pain, reduces people's tolerance levels and make them more likely to behave aggressively toward the staff. The Design Council partnered with the National Health Service to develop new systems that help reduce violence and aggression in A&E.

Violence and aggression towards frontline hospital staff is estimated to cost the NHS at least £69 million a year in staff absence, loss of productivity and additional security. As many as 59,000 physical assaults occur in English NHS hospitals each year. With over 21 million patients attending A&E departments each year, increasing pressure on A&E departments can lead to negative experiences for both patients and staff. In the complex, high pressure environment of A&E, escalating frustrations can be particularly difficult to manage and diffuse.

Working with designers and the NHS, the ‘Reducing violence and aggression in A&E’ Design Challenge sought to address non-physical aggression and hostility towards staff by improving the A&E experience.

In response to the research findings, a design team led by PearsonLloyd developed three solutions to improve the experience of both patients and staff, reducing anxiety and promoting a positive hospital culture.

1. The guidance solution
A comprehensive package of information about the department, waiting times and treatment processes via on-site environmental signage, patient leaflets, and digital platforms.

2. The people solution
A programme of reflective practice designed to better support NHS frontline staff to manage and learn from incidents of violence and aggression.

3. The A&E toolkit
A package of information and guidance for NHS managers, clinicians, designers and healthcare planners who want to develop and deliver a better service in effective and inspiring environments.

The Guidance and People solutions were installed and piloted at two A&E departments. A comprehensive evaluation was carried out by Frontier Economics and ESRO to test their impact, which found:
• 75% of patients said the improved signage reduced their frustration during waiting times
• Threatening body language and aggressive behaviour fell by 50% post-implementation
• For every £1 spent on the design solutions, £3 was generated in benefits

Published November 2013.

Find out more:
www.designcouncil.org.uk/projects/reducing-violence-and-aggression-ae

www.abetteraande.com

Contact BEDA  Koloniënstraat 56, 1000 Brussels (Belgium) t. (+32) 2 217 39 77  f. (+32) 2 217 99 72
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