A new guideline intended to reduce one of the most significant workplace violence risks in the healthcare industry has been released.

“Violent Patient / Patient Visitor Management” by the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS) urges healthcare facilities to establish specific violence prevention and aggression management policies, processes and practices to deter, identify and manage violent events. It also provides specific sample policy and processes for identifying and mitigating violence and threats from patients and visitors. 

According to the guide; “Violence stemming from patients and patient visitors present considerable risk and concern to the healthcare industry.”

Feedback from the IAHSS membership, the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), and the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) was incorporated into the guide.

Tom Smith, Chair of the IAHSS Council on Guidelines, said the release of the guidelines couldn’t be timelier, noting that it would support Sentinel Event Alert 59: Physical and verbal violence against health care workers, published recently by The Joint Commission (TJC). Smith said the guide would “assist healthcare organizations as they develop proactive policies and practices to address violent and threatening patients and family members.” 

The IAHSS Council on Guidelines develops new industry guidelines and reviews existing guidelines on a three-year cycle. All IAHSS guidelines are available electronically to IAHSS members via the IAHSS website. “Violent Patient / Patient Visitor Management” can be accessed by the public for a limited time at www.iahss.org/guidelines.


The International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) is for professionals involved in managing and directing security and safety programs in healthcare facilities.