Crisis Intervention Program Will Increase Safety at HGH

Citing concern for the safety of its patients and employees, Humboldt General Hospital has introduced a new crisis intervention program.

All employees will take part in the "Nonviolent Crisis Intervention" curriculum over the coming months.

The mandatory training will be taught by three staff instructors, including Louis Mendiola, Robyn Dunckhorst and Tina Maestrejuan.

Maestrejuan, the hospital's nurse educator, said the instruction falls in nicely with the hospital's increased focus on hospital safety and employee safety.

"The world we live in is a different one than the one in which most of us were trained," she said.

"We continue to see news reports from across the country and the globe that indicate that even hospitals are not free from threatening or even hurtful acts," said Maestrejuan, "so our job is to make sure our employees are prepared, and also protected."

Maestrejuan said the course will help employees recognize a patient or visitor whose behavior is becoming increasingly violent, and how appropriate actions and verbal cues can deescalate a situation.

Staff members will also learn how to implement personal safety techniques in order to get away from a person who has become physically violent.

The training will even include instruction on how staff members can cope with their own fears and anxieties in potentially volatile situations.

"There will be a variation of these learning modules for different roles that employees play at the hospital," she said.

Maestrejuan and her co-instructors were trained in the crisis intervention techniques last November at the behest of the hospital's safety committee members.

Those members hail from all parts of the hospital including nursing, EMS, maintenance and the hospital clinics.

"But their mutual goal is to ensure a safe and caring hospital environment," said Maestrejuan.

"That's what we all want," she added, "and I think it's important for our community to know that we are working actively toward that goal."