Cox Medical Center Branson adding panic buttons to employee badges after reports of increased staff assaults

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Cox Medical Center Branson workers will soon have an added layer of protection after reports of staff assaults by patients tripled this past year.

Nurse Ashley Blevins says in the past year staff have been spit on, cussed out, and in some cases beaten by patients.

”It’s nice we have the chance to press our button and security knows exactly where we are and if we end up having to chase a patient down they’ll know where our last location is,” Ashley Blevins said.

Cox Branson’s Patient Safety Facilitator Angie Smith says after analyzing workplace violence numbers in Branson, she knew they needed this system.

”Because of the way our property is laid out, it’s going to have to work off of a GPS or wireless type system so it was going to cost quite a bit of money,” Angie Smith said.

Mindy Honey with Skaggs foundation says when learning there had been 123 assaults on staff and 78 injuries their team couldn’t move quickly enough to fund the project.

”This is one of the quickest grants we’ve ever funded before,” Mindy Honey said.

Honey says the grant is $132,000, and with assaults increasing, she says it was so vital to get this money into their hands right away.

“The thought that they can push that button and help will be on the way immediately it was just a no brainer for us to make that move,” Honey said.

Smith says the Emergency Room nurses see a lot of violence, but it also happens all throughout the hospital.

”It’s in our critical care units, it’s in our med surge floor areas, a lot of times it’s repeated violence as well we may have the same patient doing the same thing or getting worse each time they do it,” said Smith.

Nurse Blevins says she thinks the pandemic has had an impact on these situations as well.

”They come in here and they have to sit in here because everywhere’s full, we have no placements to put anybody and that’s frustrating on the patient that’s frustrating on us and I think that’s increasing a lot of violence towards everyone,” said Blevins.

Around 300-400 staff will be given the personal panic button on their badge.

Cox Branson hopes to have the system up and running by the end of the year.

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