Centra Health taking steps to prevent workplace violence


LYNCHBURG, Va. – Centra Health is cracking down on employees getting hurt in the workplace.

Leaders said that between January and June 2022, 39 employees reported an injury.

Nathan Campbell, Centra’s Corporate Director of Security, answered the following questions from 10 News:

How concerned is Centra when it comes to workplace violence?

“Very concerned. Workplace violence does not just consist of being harmed by a weapon but can be any kind of abuse that is physical or even verbal. We have seen caregivers kicked, hit, spit on, and verbally assaulted. We believe the workplace should be a safe place for our caregivers. No one should ever fear coming to work.”

What do you believe is causing the violence?

“State mental health populations have overloaded the system, and we are starting to see more patients in our facilities with higher acuity. That coupled with capacity challenges means patients are often here longer than expected, which can cause frustration that fuels violence. There has also been aggression due to frustration with masking, social challenges, and the changes resulting from COVID-19.”

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What steps is Centra taking to solve the issue?

“We are conducting facility assessments on all Centra facilities to ensure appropriate mechanisms are in place including panic buttons for caregivers, door security measures with access control technology, CCTV systems, parking lighting, etc. We are increasing our education through signage, media, and monitoring public entryways with greeters. Most importantly, the Centra Foundation has graciously provided funding for all caregivers to go through de-escalation training through the Crisis Prevention Institute to ensure a level of training appropriate to each caregiver’s role.”

Would you consider pressing charges, if possible, if an employee is injured by a patient?

“Yes, we will assist our caregivers with whatever means necessary to ensure they are cared for appropriately including assisting them in pressing charges if that is what they wish to do. We also have policies and programs in place with our legal and human resource teams to provide them with any counseling they may need.”

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