Threat and violence against healthcare professionals caused by patients and/or their relatives is a well-known problem both nationally and internationally. However, there are likely to be a large number of unreported incidents, which may be because healthcare professionals only report incidents that caused serious physical injury. Another explanation may be that healthcare professionals refrain from reporting because threatening and violent situations have become part of everyday work life. Work-related threat and violence constitute a risk of worsening well-being among health care professionals. Moreover, threatening and violence situations can have an impact on the quality of care. Previous research have primarily focused on the experiences of healthcare professionals working in emergency care and psychiatric care whereas research within the field of somatic care in hospitals is limited.
Injured patients or those having a disease, that require hospital care are initially assessed at the emergency department prior to admission to a somatic care department. This means that patients prone to being violent or threatening will be admitted to a somatic care department until they have recovered. During the care period, there may be a continued risk of threats and violence against the healthcare professionals working at the department.
Threatening and violent situations arising at the care department can lead to negative consequences for other patients. The hospital should provide safety for injured, sick and vulnerable patients. However, potential violent or threatening patients or their relatives could affect the safety and security for other patients.
In order to develop support for healthcare professionals and to minimize the risk for negative consequences of the quality of care when threatening and violent situations occur, an understanding of how healthcare professionals, managers and ex-patients experience these situations is called for. Through the HOPE-study, the research group intends to investigate the prevalence and experiences of threats and violence caused by patients or relatives in surgical wards.