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AIMS Public Health


Healthcare workers are at a high risk of violence all over the world. The hostility toward nurses, physicians, and hospital staff has reached the point that it can be considered a public health problem. In this paper, we focus on the harassment, aggression, and violence that many healthcare workers have encountered while treating unstable psychiatric patients in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. We present a case with a history of violence toward mental health workers, review psychopathological and clinical aspects, and discuss how both the COVID-19 pandemic and current challenges in psychiatric hospital settings increase the frequency and severity of these attacks and how this affects the team on inpatient psychiatric units. We used the CARE guidelines to provide the most accurate and transparent information about the patient and relevant psychosocial aspects. We also pooled more than 20 unique sources to cover all aspects of violent behaviors in all psychiatric settings for all age groups. We concluded that a lack of nursing staff, the mental burden imposed by difficult patients, and poor communication between team members are some of the factors contributing to patient violence. An incomplete understanding of the problem creates barriers to change on both personal and systematic levels. Constant violence and abuse against healthcare workers cause stress, decreased productivity, and work dissatisfaction. To improve the safety of healthcare professionals, especially in inpatient psychiatric settings, several system-based changes should be implemented.



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aggression, involuntary hospitalization, pandemic, psychosis, treatment, violence