Evaluation of aggression in Australian after-hours doctor home-visit services
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Rationale, aims, and objectives Minimizing the risks and distress arising from aggression in after-hours house call (AHHC) services will help improve service quality in the industry. Unfortunately, no national study has ever evaluated this in Australian AHHCs. Apart from reducing this gap, findings from this work will have global relevance given the rising popularity of the AHHC industry worldwide. Methods A survey of all 300 doctors employed by the National Home Doctor Service, Australia's largest AHHC service provider. A validated electronic questionnaire was used to examine the doctors' experiences over a 12-month period. Results There were 168 valid responses (56% response rate). Aggression prevalence was 47.1%, and just over half (51.8%) of the cases came from the patients. “Verbal aggression” was the commonest (48.3%). Others are “threats” (26.6%), “vexatious complaints” (13.3%), “property damage” (4.2%), “physical violence” (4.2%), “sexual harassment” (2.8%), and “stalking” (0.7%). Majority of the respondents were concerned (90.2%) and apprehensive (75.2%) regarding the risks. Doctors who have experienced aggression were more likely to express apprehension (OR = 3.99; CI = 1.54–10.31; P = 0.004), while those that have attained Postgraduate Fellowships (Vocationally Registered) were less likely to report experiences of aggression (OR = 0.28; CI = 0.09–0.84; P = 0.02). Even though a higher proportion of females were concerned (92.3% vs 89.6%) and apprehensive (82.1% vs 73.6%) compared with males, these differences were not statistically significant (Fisher's Exact Tests: P = 1.000 and 0.469, respectively). Conclusion Aggression in Australian AHHC affects nearly 1-in-2 practitioners, with high levels of concern and apprehension being expressed. Concerned companies should do more to ensure that their doctors attain PG fellowships, as this is linked to lower reports of aggression. Where possible, family and friends need to be involved in patient care, as nearly half of the reported aggressions come from them.
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Evaluation of aggression in Australian after-hours doctor home-visit services, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 2017, which has been published in final form at 10.1111/jep.12868. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving (http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-828039.html)
This publication has been entered into Griffith Research Online as an Advanced Online Version.
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified