Barriers and facilitators to using a violence risk assessment for patients with mental illness: Perceptions of health care personnel

By Intissar Souli, Amanda Vandyk, Dania Versailles, Isabelle Marcoux, Ann Salvador, Wendy E. Peterson, Jiale Hu, Dawn Stacey

The daily assessment of the risk of violence has been shown to be an effective intervention for managing violent behavior in mental health services.
Purpose: To evaluate the use of a violence risk assessment tool by health care personnel working in mental health units and its facilitators and barriers.
Method: A descriptive study using the Dillman method and informed by the Knowledge-to-Action framework was conducted.
Results: Twenty-six health care professionals responded to the questionnaire; 62% stated that they had already used the violence risk assessment tool available in their unit, but not on a daily basis. Barriers included a lack of knowledge of the tool, a lack of resources and time, as well as a negative attitude toward the patients. 42% of participants indicated the need for training on how to use the violence risk assessment.
Conclusion: Despite considerable exposure to violence, the health care professionals did not carry out a daily risk assessment. The identification of barriers and facilitators provide a direction for the necessary interventions if the daily use of violence risk assessment tools is to be increased.

  • workplace violence
  • risk assessment
  • Knowledge-to-Action
  • facilitators
  • barriers
  • mental health services
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