DENVER (KDVR) — At hospitals and clinics across the state, aggression toward health care workers is on the rise. 

Barb Jahn with Intermountain Healthcare said health care workers have experienced a 32% increase in reports of violence. 

“People don’t feel safe,” Jahn said. “The last few years have been very stressful for people in our whole society — behavioral health issues, stressors that people didn’t have before — and I think it’s manifesting in inappropriate behaviors in the health care setting in many ways.”  

Joshua Ewing, with the Colorado Hospital Association, said health care workers have the highest rates of workplace violence. 

In a release, the CHA stated health care workers are five times more likely to be injured than other workers, a nurse is assaulted every 30 minutes on average and 90% of health care workers experienced or witnessed violence from a patient or patient’s caregiver.

“Violence and threats are a large contributing factor to burnout among our health care workers and a high reason for leaving the field entirely,” Ewing said. 

He said it’s a trend they’re hoping to curb.  

“We all as Coloradans deserve a safe place to seek health care services, and the folks who are providing that care deserve a safe place to deliver it. And at the end of the day, it’s on us to make sure we are creating that environment,” Ewing said. 

In partnership with the CHA, Jahn said they launched the #CultureofCARE campaign that focuses on internal communication, training and public awareness.  

It’s a public campaign aimed at reducing violent events in health care settings. 

“It is so important for us to care for our caregivers,” Jahn said. “If our caregivers aren’t caring for people, who’s going to do that? They need to feel safe and supported from us in the work that they do.”  

Ewing said they are actively pursuing policies at the state and national level to protect health care workers.