Deborah J. Crumb, R.Ph., is chief pharmacist at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla. She has seven years of management experience with health-care professionals and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Health Administration, University of North Florida.
Kenneth Jennings held a variety of assignments at Union Carbide Corporation before receiving a Ph.D. in industrial relations from the University of Illinois. He is currently the Richard de Raismes Kip Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of North Florida and has authored/coauthored numerous articles and books, including Balls and Strikes; Swings and Misses, and The Labor Relations, Sixth Edition.
Incidents of patient abuse in health-care facilities are becoming more and more commonplace. And while many cases result in termination of the employee involved, such discipline is often overturned or reduced by arbitrators. Questions such as what constitutes abuse, what role does provocation play and did management clearly outline its disciplinary policy all play a pivotal role in an arbitrator’s decision to uphold or reverse discipline of an employee. The authors consider a collection of patient-abuse cases and examine the key issues arbitrators look to in rendering their decision.
Continuing, widespread problems occurring between elderly patients and care-giving employees have been the subject of scrutiny from the media.1 Patients may risk their possessions and financial assets to theft by employees and may also be victims of physical abuse.