Applying the AWARE Framework at the Point of Care

Kailin Hsu, MD, Director of Product Solutions and Clinical Programs

Promoting a safer care environment is of crucial importance as healthcare workers face a concerning rise in workplace violence. Recognizing the need for a more proactive approach, clinical leaders at Get Well created the AWARE Framework to provide strategies on ways to avert and reduce these incidents by: raising Awareness, identifying early Warning signs to prevent escalation, Activating responders, offering Real-time emotional support, and Evaluating data to mitigate future risk. You can read more about this framework here

Get Well hosts quarterly Pediatric Leadership Cohort sessions that bring together pediatric leaders across the country to share best practices. Our most recent session was dedicated to workplace civility and safety and was attended by clinical leaders from a number of pediatric healthcare organizations across the country. 

Cohort participants discussed how they are using the AWARE Framework to tackle this critical issue and identified innovative ways that Get Well’s technologies can be used to improve safety in the healthcare setting. In addition, these leaders discussed ways that their own staff practices and resources could complement the use of technology to create a safer care environment. Below are a few of the cohort’s recommendations, mapped to the AWARE framework:

Awareness: Foster a safer care environment through public awareness initiatives and reporting systems

  • Implement daily safety briefs with staff to review and promote awareness of higher-risk patients. 

Warning signs: Identify early warning signs to intervene before further escalation and possible violence 

  • Have dedicated staff members with behavioral health expertise who are responsible for getting to know patients and their behaviors. Given their relationship and better understanding of patients, they can recognize escalation triggers and step in sooner to de-escalate.
  • Form a social work response team to de-escalate families without introducing security or authority figures, in addition to establishing a rapid response team with staff members trained to handle behavioral health escalations.

Active response: Reduce the response time to safety threats to minimize the possibility of harm 

  • Start security-driven unit rounding to check-in with care team members and identify patients and families who may pose safety risks, in order to prioritize where more time should be spent patrolling. 

Real-time emotional support: Provide in-the-moment and ongoing support to staff members who do not feel safe in their work environment

  • Implement safety rounds with leadership to identify gaps and prioritize listening to staff. 
  • Offer a variety of resources for staff depending on their signs and symptoms of stress. Resources that allow care team members to connect with others with similar experiences may be particularly beneficial. 

Evaluate data: Collect and analyze data to prevent further incidents

  • Use Get Well’s rounding tool to facilitate prompt reporting of risks, near misses, and incidents to stay abreast of the safety environment, and to efficiently collect data from patient interactions to analyze and identify potential risks.

Our Pediatric Leadership Cohort came to a very important conclusion: Blending organizational best practices with Get Well technologies – using the AWARE framework as their guide – can be highly effective in reducing workplace violence. If you are interested in learning more about how Get Well can support a safer care environment, contact us here

Special thanks to leaders from the following healthcare organizations who contributed to our engaging session: BayCare, Boston Children’s Hospital, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Alabama, Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Children’s National Hospital, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Norton Children’s Hospital, Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, Wolfson Children’s Hospital. If you are a pediatric care leader and would like to join our Pediatric Leadership Cohort, register here