When we think about caretakers, hospital staff within psychiatric units are one of the unsung heroes; not always getting as much credit as they are deserved. Their job is not only selfless, but also at times dangerous.
While helping create an environment that encourages healing and well being, they are reported as experiencing multiple forms of workplace violence and other health risks, including conflict, hostility and assault.
Along with the stress and these findings they are prone to receive, there is another serious risk that affects most personnel; smoke inhalation.
Looking after patients
Patients with mental illness are among the group with the highest percentage of smokers, (including the quantity of daily cigarettes smoked) and the staff that looks after them is put in a position to either neglect the patients or find themselves in close proximity to them when they are smoking; leaving themselves and others around the smokers with an additional, occupational hazard; second-hand smoke.
It has been known for decades that working in an environment with poor IAQ (indoor air quality) threatens people's health and well being, yet many mental health wards haven't really addressed this issue to the satisfaction of their employees.
Solutions from the north
Within Scandinavia, there has been tremendous success with occupational and patient safety from smoking related issues by the implementation of smoking cabins, and other territories are starting to adopt these proven strategies.
You can find a lot more information and statistics about the additional challenges psychiatric hospitals and mental health clinics face in terms of protecting their staff and patients from poor indoor air quality and passive smoking, as well as the specific solutions we provide to ensure protection from second hand smoke, by clicking here.