Violence Against Health Care: Research Analysis

ambulanceAs part of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Health Care in Danger Initiative, RAND Europe in collaboration with Elrha published a new report, Researching Violence Against Health Care: Gaps and Priorities.” The report identifies key elements that are currently missing in research on violence against health care. As such, the authors aim to highlight “key barriers” in identifying effective interventions to resolve this issue. According to the report’s findings, “attacks against healthcare are a complex problem defying simple solutions.” Accordingly, necessary solutions are “context-specific and technical, requiring high-level policy change and health system reform.”

The primary goal of this report is to assess the existing evidence, identify research gaps, and identify areas for future research. Significantly, the review of evidence attempts to provide a qualitative analysis of available data, including research design, data collection and interpretation. In addition, the report provides an outlook into areas of insufficient and/or contradictory evidence.

Based on the existing research, the report identifies main threats to healthcare as physical (70 per cent) and/or psychological (82 per cent) violence, followed by sexual, deprivation/neglect, and cyberattacks. The most common subject of violence appears to be healthcare workers, with only a small proportion of research focusing on violence against patients and healthcare facilities. Significantly, the most common type of perpetrator identified in 43 per cent of all studies is the patient, followed by other healthcare workers and affiliated third parties.

The report identifies 23 research gaps divided in the following categories:

  • Nature of violence;
  • Impacts of violence;
  • Interventions to reduce violence;
  • Specific research methods;
  • Specific contexts of violence; and
  • Data collection.

Furthermore, the report addresses the current gaps in learning across the global community, thus pointing out to additional resources necessary to “support meaningful research.”

For more information, visit the HSDL selection of research on healthcare violence. Please note that an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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Note: you may need to login to the HSDL to view some resources mentioned in the blog.

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