Screens to update patients in emergency departments about their progress can help to reduce aggression

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 18 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7487
  1. Jo Carlowe
  1. 1London

Violence and aggression against staff in emergency departments are massively under-reported, a study has shown, and yet simple measures can prevent flare-ups and save the NHS millions.

In a year long project, commissioned by the Department of Health and run by the Design Council, designers observed emergency departments to identify the influences that lead to outbursts in normally calm patients and relatives.

It is estimated that such cases account for half of all aggression (or in some cases, violence) against staff, which costs the NHS in excess of £69m (€80m; $109m) a year.

Becky Rowe, research director at research agency ESRO, was the ethnographic research lead on this project. Her team spent more than 300 …

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