To explore the frequency and nature of violent incidents in psychogeriatric wards and nursing homes in terms of type and severity of incidents, what provoked the incidents, and what kind of measure was needed to stop the aggression.
Aggressive behaviour of the study group was monitored using the Staff Observation Aggression Scale-Revised (SOAS-R( in two Norwegian nursing homes and two geriatric psychiatric wards for a period of three months. Severity of incidents were monitored with the built-in severity scoring system in SOAS-R.
During the study period 32 out of the 82 patients were reported to be violent. The majority of the incidents were generated by a minority of the patients. Physical injury to the staff as a consequence of the aggression was extremely rare. Situations where the client was denied something were the most provocative ones and a substantial number of incidents occurred at bath/shower times. Talking to the patient was the most frequent measure used to stop the aggression, but more intrusive measures were also used.
A substantial proportion of the incidents were associated with personal care tasks, suggesting a crucial role for communication difficulties and a focus for staff training. We suggest that personal care situations should be added to the variable list in future research.