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Patient and Visitor Violence in General Hospitals: A Systematic Review of the Literature

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 13 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 2008 Pages: 431-441
Sabine Hahn; Adelheit Zeller; Ian Needham; Gerjo Kok; Theo Dassen; Ruud J.G. Halfens
Date Published
November 2008
11 pages
This systematic literature review examines how often patient and visitor violence (PVV) against health care staff in general hospitals occurs and what is known about the different forms of PVV.
The results demonstrate the complex interplay between the various factors that contribute to PVV. PVV occurs frequently in general hospitals and manifests predominately in the form of psychological violence. Organizational and workplace characteristics, as well as patient-provider interactions are important contextual factors that can impact the incidence of PVV. Additionally, patients with a disturbed mental health state sometimes react violently during interactions with health care staff (HCS). Nurses are most frequently targeted. In order to better comprehend and prevent violence between patients/relatives and HCS, future research projects should aim to develop a complex model that includes organizational, situational, personnel-related, and interaction-related factors. PVV is a complex occupational hazard for HCS working in general hospitals. In order to reduce the deficit of information regarding this kind of PVV, a systematic literature review that describes and summarizes the current scientific knowledge on this topic was conducted. The literature search identified 84 studies which were analyzed for research quality. Tables, references


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