Violence in a&e

A Pearson Lloyd-led team has created a series of prototype designs which aim to prevent violence against staff in hospital accident and emergency departments.The consultancy was appointed to the work earlier this year as part of the £450 000 Reducing Violence and Aggression in A&E by Design project, which is being run by the Design Council and the Department of Health.

Pearson Lloyd has now led a team to develop a series of designs, which include: a new approach to greeting patients on arrival; a system of environmental signage, called ‘slices’, which gives clear, location-specific information; a personal ‘process map’ explaining what patients can expect from the treatment process; and screens to provide live, dynamic information about how many cases are being handled.

The team, which included the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, The Tavistock Consultancy Service and healthcare experts, also created a system of tools to help staff report incidences and share information with colleagues and an eight-week programme to help them work with managers to address incidents.

The designers also developed a toolkit of research and best practice for hospital senior managers.

The systems were developed by studying patient behaviour and interactions with staff, including incidents of aggression. They were designed to be simple to implement across both older and newer hospitals, be low-cost to implement and to avoid creating physical barriers between patients and staff.
Health Minister Simon Burns says, ‘These are practical solutions to help support and reduce the pressure on busy staff – ways in which hospitals can easily redesign the environment according to their budget and how difficult situations can be diffused by simply giving patients more information.’

The designs are now set to be trialled for a year-long period across three hospital trusts: Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.


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