New security program aims to deescalate violence at Interior hospitals | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New security program aims to deescalate violence at Interior hospitals

Two of the new 'ambassadors' starting next week at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital will be Dennon Leibel (left) and Ron Riechelt.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Interior Health Authority

A new ambassador program is starting next week at the three busiest emergency rooms in B.C.’s interior.

The Interior Health Authority ambassadors are an offshoot of security, with training in how to deescalate heated situations, according to a media release, and will be located at Kelowna General Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital, and Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

While they are part of each hospital’s security detail, the new positions include extra training to help prevent violence at the hospital, health board chair John O’Fee says.

“At Interior Health, the safety of our employees and physicians is a top priority, as is the safety of our patients and clients,” O’Fee says in the release. “Unfortunately, when caring for people who are in emotional, vulnerable and stressful situations, their actions can be unpredictable and may include violence or aggression.”

The ambassadors will stand out from other security personnel, wearing more casual clothing. They’re goal is to work proactively with patients and visitors to the hospital to preempt any aggressive or violent situations.

There will be three at each of the emergency departments.

Similar programs are being run in Vancouver.

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