Workplace Violence against Hospital Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Israel: Implications for Public Health

Keren Dopelt, Nadav Davidovitch, Anna Stupak, Rachel Ben Ayun, Anna Lev Eltsufin, Chezy Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Workplace violence (WPV) against healthcare workers, a serious public health problem with profound implications, has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study examined the incidence of different types of WPV in a public hospital in Israel during the pandemic and analyzes the factors associated with its occurrence. A cross-sectional study was performed via an online questionnaire with 486 workers at a government hospital in Israel. Data were collected about sociodemographic and occupational characteristics, exposure to different forms of WPV over the pre-ceding six months, and the responsibility and reasons for WPV from the workers’ perspective. Approximately 71% of respondents were exposed to WPV and 64% perceived that WPV escalated during the pandemic. The prevalence of verbal/psychological and physical WPV were 69 and 11%, respectively. The main reason for WPV was frustration over long wait times (70%). The escalation during the pandemic can be attributed to patients’ or relatives’ anxiety and mental states following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (72%), an increase in waiting time since the pandemic began (54%), lack of hospital resources to care for everyone (45%), and the inability to visit critically ill relatives with COVID-19 (44%). Increased exposure to WPV was attributed to lower seniority, working in emergency or internal departments, and being a nurse or a doctor. The findings raise an urgent need to develop strategies to reduce WPV in hospitals at all levels: national, organizational, and individual. Further research could focus on the effectiveness of innovative strategies and interventions to prevent violence against healthcare workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4659
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • healthcare workers
  • hospital
  • Israel
  • workplace violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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