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Podcast series – Managing patient aggression

Avant media

Tuesday, 3 October 2023


In healthcare settings, situations involving angry or aggressive patients or families can escalate quickly, putting health and safety at risk.

Dealing with patient anger and aggression is a common concern for Avant members. In this three-part podcast series, we share insights from doctors and practice staff based on their years of experience managing confronting situations in a range of healthcare contexts.

In part 1, we share guidance on recognising early warning signs of aggression and responding effectively to keep everyone safe. We hear from practitioners with experience in emergency department, general practice and mental healthcare settings. They suggest ways to avoid the escalation of aggressive incidents and strategies to de-escalate a situation if one does arise.

Part 2 explores violent situations where de-escalation may not be effective, such as irrational anger or aggression stemming from illness, disorder, or substance use. We consider communication techniques for responding to these situations and explore some management strategies to help keep yourself and everyone else safe.

Part 3 shifts focus to practice settings, where dealing with workplace violence and aggression may be taking its toll on practice staff. In this episode, experienced practice managers help us to explore the ways practice processes or communication may be inadvertently contributing to angry or aggressive behaviours. They also discuss approaches to support frontline staff and equip them to manage situations effectively if they arise.

Across the series we also explore some common themes, including strategies to debrief and support staff after an incident. We discuss the best ways to document situations, as a way of identifying learnings, and having a record if necessary for later investigations.

Listen to the podcasts

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