What Is The Job Of A Safety In Football How to Document Any Incident

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How to Document Any Incident

If you work in human services—whether you’re a social worker, health care professional, child care worker, or any other human service provider—you probably know that good documentation is an important part of your job. Documentation isn’t just important because of concerns about a lawsuit. Good documentation provides a detailed account of an incident so that appropriate follow-up action can be taken, patterns and trends can be identified, policies and procedures can be evaluated, and steps can be taken to improve the safety of everyone in your facility.

According to a Sentinel alert published by The Joint Commission in 2010, the number of violent incidents in health care facilities, some as serious as assaults, rapes and murders, has steadily increased in recent years. These crimes are committed by patients, visitors and other violators of the institution.

When these incidents occur, the Joint Commission recommends a number of actions, including reporting violent activity or perceived threats to facility management or the police as soon as possible. Proper documentation is essential to ensure proper incident handling.

As with any skill, good documentation takes practice. Here are some tips to make your task a little easier.

Know what to document. If you are not clear about what types of incidents require documentation, check your policies and procedures or ask your supervisor. Make sure you know which situations require a full incident report and which require only a “chart” or “log”.

Avoid delays. Incident reports should always be written as soon as possible after the incident occurs. Time quickly fades our memories. If you wait days or even hours before writing your report, you will miss important information. Additionally, the accounts of others who participated in or witnessed the event can easily color your memory. After hearing such accounts, it becomes difficult to distinguish one’s own memories from those of others. Unbeknownst to them, honest people begin to change their stories, fill in the blanks and add additional pieces of “information after the fact”.

Although it is important to provide emotional support to those involved in a violent incident, try to minimize their conversations with others who were involved until all parties have interviewed or written an incident report.

List the main facts of the event in chronological order. Answer the questions who, when, where, what, how and why. Include the events that led up to this event. Describe any intervention attempts, either verbally or physically.

Be objective. Stick to the facts. Avoid subjective comments or opinions. Distinguish between personal knowledge and what you have learned from others. Don’t try to blame or defend others. Avoid showing the person’s mental or emotional state. For example, if you believe that the person involved in the incident was intoxicated, describe the behavior or other signs that led you to that conclusion, rather than simply stating that the person was “drunk.”

Be precise, concise and clear. Be as brief as possible, but include the necessary information. Double check names, addresses, dates and times. Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. Always do a rough draft, review it, and then prepare your final report.

After a crisis, it is important to assess what happened and look for ways to prevent or reduce future incidents. Your well-written report is an important tool in this process and a way to improve the safety of everyone involved in a crisis.

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