Advice on managing aggressive patients

KEEPING patients informed of waiting times and providing a comfortable waiting room are among simple steps that can deter difficult patients from violence, experts say.
 
But GP practices need a system to alert staff to potentially aggressive patients, and pre-agreed management plans for known problem-makers, emergency physicians advise.
 
In a paper in Australian Prescriber on managing violence against healthcare workers, doctors say a sign in the waiting room should make clear that aggression and violence are not tolerated.
 
Staff should also know their personal safety is a priority.
 
“They should not see patients for a late appointment when they are alone,” it advised.
 
The authors, including Professor Gordian Fulde, emergency department director of St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, said doctors should also be aware of non-psychiatric medical conditions that can cause