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Workshop to educate health providers on dealing with aggressive patients

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Home health aides and other medical professionals may receive free training on assessing the safety of each potentially intense situation, which will make their training more on par with that of emergency medical service responders.

The “Defensive Tactics for Offensive Situations” training will be offered at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. May 22 at Jefferson County Public Health Service, 631 Meade St., and at 7 p.m. that day at the Bruce M. Wright Memorial Conference Center, 1291 Faichney Drive, to educate attendees on how to deal with aggressive patients.

“We don’t train nurses and home health aides that way,” said Charles F. Brenon III, Jefferson County’s director of emergency services. “As EMS providers, it’s second nature for us to assess the scene. It’s a skill set other health care workers don’t necessarily have.”

The training will be offered during National Medical Emergency Services Week.

Jefferson County Public Health Service Director Ginger B. Hall said public health staff doesn’t have training on dealing with aggressive patients, but employees are told if there are threats or danger to back away and leave. One instance where that suggestion worked was when a home health aide went into a home and the patient no longer wanted to answer questions and threatened to throw hot tea on the aide.

Mr. Brenon said medical professionals who deal with threats as small as that or as large as responding to a scene where someone high on recreational drugs already had beaten four friends should have the same response training.

“With home care staff, they’re often on their own,” Mrs. Hall said. “We go in there not knowing what we’re walking into.”

Mr. Brenon said the training will teach participants to recognize hazards at the scene, including potentially hazardous patients or family members; how to verbally defuse situations; and rudimentary self defense and how to get out of the situation.

He said there’s been much attention surrounding the issue, especially throughout the past few years as more intense, aggressive and even deadly situations have come up locally, statewide and nationwide. On Dec. 24, four firefighters were shot, and two killed, when emergency responders went to a fire in Webster, Monroe County. Volunteer emergency medical technician Mark B. Davis was shot and killed while responding to a call in Cape Vincent four years ago.

“We just saw what happened in Webster, and I’ve been to scenes here where there are guns involved,” Mr. Brenon said. “It seems to be a scary world more than it was a few years ago. This training will be of great benefit. In public health and emergency medical service we are put in sketchy situations in a weekly, if not daily or three-times daily, basis. You always have to be aware.”

Mrs. Hall said she hopes this training is the measure needed to protect medical professionals and prevent tragedies.

To register for the training, call Jefferson County EMS administrative assistant Judy Brenon at 786-3760 or email her at jbrenon@co.jefferson.ny.us.

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