Risk Assessment Framework in Healthcare

  • 10 Pages
  • Published On: 11-12-2023

Every healthcare organisation has the legal duty to conduct a suitable arrangement for all service users and service providers to protect them from any kind of risk. For developing an effective risk assessment framework in healthcare, all the health and social care staffs need to follow the health and safety policies to ensure the safe delivery of care to all the patients. This study will discuss the factors that contribute to the risk and hazards that are associated with the work practice in the local environment and workplace in relation to discussing the hazards that are identified in the case study. In this study, the relevant health and safety legislation will be linked to the case study to discuss the importance of implementation of these legislations into practices to eliminate any workplace risk for both the clients and the service providers. This study will also discuss how the effective use of risk behaviour can assist the care professionals to promote independence and individualised choice of clients.

Factors contributing to the risk in the local environment and workplace: (LO2)

In the modern health and social care context, an effective risk assessment framework is fundamental to ensure a safe and protective environment for both the service user and service providers (Coffey et al. 2017). Several factors contribute to the hazards and risk in the local environment and the workplace for both the clients and the service providers. These factors are:

Physical factors: exposure to toxic products, compressed gases, extreme temperature, heat, hurt by sharp objects on the floor and exposure to the high cold (Compston et al. 2017)

Biological factors: infection, internal health issues, poor biological system, and allergies

Technical factor: lack of modern risk assessment framework, poor and backdate medical equipment, lack of technology-based falls risk assessment

Emotional factors: burn out, workplace bully and harassment and lack of support from the seniors and peers (Pallett et al. 2020)

Chemical factors: high exposure to harmful chemical and lack of proper manual handling process

Legal factors: poor implementation of health and safety legislation into practices

Physical factors:

Many physical factors are associated with enhancing the vulnerability of services users and service providers to serious hazards and risks in the local environment in their workplace setting (Loeppke et al. 2017). Exposure to the unfavourable physical condition such as exposure to the high temperature that causes burn and sunstroke, exposure to compressed gases, toxic chemicals in the workplace can cause severe infection and dysfunction of the internal body system. In the case study, the death of the 100 years old patient due to a fall from the hoist points out the fact that, in this care home, there is a lack of effective risk assessment framework, poor risk management and poor training of staffs in managing all types of risk (Armstrong, 2018). Under Health and Safety at Work (1974), the care homes authority needs to provide effective training and skill development facilities to care staffs to improve their knowledge in eliminating the physical risk to the care home residents and staffs.

Biological factors:

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation (1999), a protective and safe environment must be maintained in the healthcare organisation that will protect the service users and care staffs from any kind of allergies and infections that can cause serious health issue (Arbury et al. 2017). In the case study, to prevent the cases of further death of patients due to occupational hazards, the care manager needs to ensure that proper precautions are taken by the care staffs to eliminate chances of needle stick injuries and allergies to residents and the latex allergies to the care staffs. According to Compston et al. (2017), a care home authority needs to arrange a systemic risk management system that can provide immediate care to the infection case and allergies to the resident care staffs. Under Health and Safety at Work (1974), care staffs must have strong professional knowledge in operating the medical equipment by following all the safety measures thereby eliminating chances of any infections, injuries and allergies.

Technical factor:

Technical and mechanical errors are common factors in the local environment and workplaces in the healthcare context that contribute to serious risk and hazards to the clients and service providers (mclinton et al. 2018). In the case study, several technical and mechanical factors contribute to the health risk to residents such as lack of skilled care staffs, lack of technical training to nurses to operate medical equipment safely such as safe use of the sling and hoist while moving patients and lack of arrangement for effective risk management. Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulation 1992, there must be adequate safety arrangement in any healthcare organisation such as adequate staff’s facilities, proper lighting, computer and tracking system, ventilation, workspace and safe passageways. In the case study, the death of 100 years old resident can be prevented by having well-trained and highly professional care staffs who can easily move the patients from the hoist to the bed safely.

Chemical factors:

Chemical factors that contribute to risk and hazards in the local environment and workplace are exposed to harmful chemicals and lack of training of the care staffs and laboratory assistant to handle harmful chemical that can cause patient’s health risk (Beattie et al. 2019). In the case study, the care home authority must ensure that there is a well-trained laboratory assistant who operates medicines and chemical safely by eliminating any chances of explosion or chemical reaction. Under Manual Handling Operation Regulation (1992), there must be well-trained care staffs and pharmacist who have knowledge in the safe handling and operating of different harmful chemical thereby ensure the safety of all residents and staffs.

Legal factors:

Legal factors are important to consider while developing an effective risk management framework in the healthcare organisation. Here all the care staffs will ensure that they understand the guidelines of the health and safety policies and implement them accordingly into their practice (mclinton et al. 2018). In the case study, the care home authority immediately needs to emphasize on effective implementation of all the health and safety regulation into the care framework to ensure that all the residents, as well as career staffs, will be protected from any kind of risk of hazards. Nurses must follow the safety guidelines while moving the patients from one place to the other.

Emotional factors:

Emotional factors that contribute to hazards in the work practice in the workplace and local environment are the unsupportive work culture, poor assistance from the senior health care professionals, burn out of staffs and serve job stress (Loeppke et al. 2017). In the case study care, the home authority must maintain a positive and supportive work culture for the residents and the care staffs. The care staffs must be motivated by providing them with proper career and training opportunities that will enhance their professional knowledge and skill to maintain the patient’s safety.

Explaining the relationship between the risk and risk behaviours by which the individualised choices and the independence of service users can be maintained: (LO4)

Risk behaviours in healthcare are actions that are used by many of the care professionals to make the faster accomplishment of their task to get immediate rewards (Coffey et al. 2017). These risk behaviours most of the times compromise patients’ safety. As the care professionals are highly skilled and competent at their work, they often tend to engage in risk behaviour that enhances the chances of errors in the treatment and care process that are associated with potential risk to the patients. Many times, care professionals are involved in the risk behaviours to promote independence and individualised choice of the patients despite knowing that these independences may cause health risk to patients. For example, in the case study, if the care staffs promote the independence of older patients regarding their movement from one place to the other, there is a high risk of patient’s falls and sudden death (Mclinton et al. 2018). On the other hand, in the case of mentally disabled patients, if care professionals promote the personalised choices and preferences of the patients then it can cause health risk to patients this is because the patients do not have the right decision-making skill so that preference and demand can be risky to their life. Then also through following all the safety guidelines of the Health and Safety at Work (1974), the care professionals can maintain and wide gap between the risks and the risk behaviour of the patients thereby maintaining patient’s independence and personalised choice safely. In this context, the care home authority in the case study needs to have a well-organised risk management framework, which will provide immediate care to residents while identifying any possible risk due to applying the risk behaviours.

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From the entire discussion, it can be stated that there are several types of risk factors ta contribute to the hazards and risk of the work practices in the local environment and the workplace. These factors are biological, physical, emotional, technical, mechanical, legal and chemical factors. The healthcare authority must have a systematic risk management framework in terms of eliminating all these factors in the workplace to ensure the safety of the clients and care staffs. Risk behaviours are the action hat health professionals use to accomplish their task immediately which sometimes enhance the chances of a patient’s risk. However, through following all the safety guidelines of the health and safety legislation the care professionals can use the risk behaviour to promote independence and self-management in patients.

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Reference list:

Alhassan, R.K. and Poku, K.A., 2018. Experiences of frontline nursing staff on workplace safety and occupational health hazards in two psychiatric hospitals in Ghana. BMC public health, 18(1), pp.1-12.

Arbury, S., Zankowski, D., Lipscomb, J. and Hodgson, M., 2017. Workplace violence training programs for health care workers: an analysis of program elements. Workplace health & safety, 65(6), pp.266-272.

Armstrong, N., 2018. Management of nursing workplace incivility in the health care settings: A systematic review. Workplace health & safety, 66(8), pp.403-410.

Beattie, J., Griffiths, D., Innes, K. and Morphet, J., 2019. Workplace violence perpetrated by clients of health care: A need for safety and trauma‐informed care. Journal of clinical nursing, 28(1-2), pp.116-124.

Coffey, M., Cohen, R., Faulkner, A., Hannigan, B., Simpson, A. and Barlow, S., 2017. Ordinary risks and accepted fictions: how contrasting and competing priorities work in risk assessment and mental health care planning. Health Expectations, 20(3), pp.471-483.

Compston, J., Cooper, A., Cooper, C., Gittoes, N., Gregson, C., Harvey, N., Hope, S., Kanis, J.A., McCloskey, E.V., Poole, K.E. and Reid, D.M., 2017. UK clinical guideline for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Archives of osteoporosis, 12(1), p.43.

Eurosurveillance Editorial Team, 2020. Updated rapid risk assessment from ECDC on the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: increased transmission in the EU/EEA and the UK. Eurosurveillance, 25(10), p.2003121.

Loeppke, R., Boldrighini, J., Bowe, J., Braun, B., Eggins, E., Eisenberg, B.S., Grundy, P., Hohn, T., Hudson, T.W., Kannas Jr, J. and Kapp, E.A., 2017. Interaction of health care worker health and safety and patient health and safety in the US health care system: recommendations from the 2016 summit. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 59(8), pp.803-813.

McLinton, S.S., Loh, M.Y., Dollard, M.F., Tuckey, M.M., Idris, M.A. and Morton, S., 2018. Benchmarking working conditions for health and safety in the frontline healthcare industry: Perspectives from Australia and Malaysia. Journal of advanced nursing, 74(8), pp.1851-1862.

Pallett, S.J., Rayment, M., Patel, A., Fitzgerald-Smith, S.A., Denny, S.J., Charani, E., Mai, A.L., Gilmour, K.C., Hatcher, J., Scott, C. and Randell, P., 2020. Point-of-care serological assays for delayed SARS-CoV-2 case identification among health-care workers in the UK: a prospective multicentre cohort study. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 8(9), pp.885-894.

Pallett, S.J., Rayment, M., Patel, A., Fitzgerald-Smith, S.A., Denny, S.J., Charani, E., Mai, A.L., Gilmour, K.C., Hatcher, J., Scott, C. and Randell, P., 2020. Point-of-care serological assays for delayed SARS-CoV-2 case identification among health-care workers in the UK: a prospective multicentre cohort study. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 8(9), pp.885-894.

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