Behavioural assessment rooms can be an effective intervention for managing aggressive patients in hospital emergency departments. The Department of Health and Human Services developed these guidelines to help health services establish appropriate procedures and policies regarding the use and design of behavioural assessment rooms.
These guidelines apply to Victorian hospitals (public and private) that have, or are planning to introduce, a behavioural assessment room within their emergency department.
These are guidelines only – they do not substitute for a health service obtaining its own independent legal and medical advice.
Addressing violence in emergency care
Worker health and wellbeing - occupational violence and aggression in health services
Behavioural assessment rooms
Behavioural assessment rooms were developed in response to the special needs of patients exhibiting aggression and the need to maximise the safety of staff, patients and others. Agitated and aggressive patients are removed from the main emergency department area, which has equipment with which they can harm themselves or others and stimuli that may exacerbate their agitation.
Behavioural assessment rooms provide a separate space within which a multidisciplinary team can work, as well as providing privacy for patients while the situation is assessed and appropriately managed. These rooms can reduce the risk of injury for the patient and staff, facilitate a more positive patient experience, and reduce distress to other patients and visitors in the emergency department.