MOAB Training: The Importance of Self-Defense in Healthcare

At the LHA Trust Funds 2022 Workplace Violence Symposium, North Louisiana emergency room nurse Jewell Lites shared her story of being attacked during what started as a routine check-in of a patient who had recently checked out of rehab.

“As I was getting ready to do the catheter, as soon as I touched her, she said ‘that really hurts’ and I said, I understand if you don't want to do this, that's, that's okay, too,” recounted Lites. She proceeded to tell the patient that it would be over soon. “And immediately after I tried to start her catheter again, she tried to kick me in the face. So, I backed up a couple of steps from the bed. And before I knew it, she was out of the bed, had her hands around my throat and she had me pressed up against the wall.”

The dangerous encounter with the patient went on for minutes before a fellow nurse realized Lites had been missing for an unusual amount of time. Lites saw help enroute after she finally managed to fight her way to open the examination room door.

“So she grabbed ahold of my hair and just started pulling my hair but since I knew people were coming, I just kind of put my head down and pushed her back towards the bed. We finally got her back in bed, and everybody came in and helped me get her restrained.”

Lites sustained what might be considered minor injuries, but the emotional toll and fear lingered far longer.

Self Defense Training is an Asset for Facilities

Not investing in training staff to defend themselves against aggressive patients can be a costly liability risk to facilities. Although no one can predict how a conflict will end, management of aggressive behavior training can help minimize the total collateral damage.

Remember that lawsuits can come from not only the injured staff but also from the patient (attacker) if they sustain injuries. If a patient brings a lawsuit, the court will review the response to the incident before it can deem it appropriate or “too aggressive”. In addition to a lawsuit that could be brought by an injured employee, facilities can also face penalties from regulatory organizations such as OSHA, The Joint Commission or LDH if they are found to have fallen short of the standards.

Management of Aggressive Behavior (MOAB)

MOAB Training

LHA Trust Funds offers an annual Management of Aggressive Behavior (MOAB) initial instructor–level training course and instructor recertification course.

MOAB® presents principles, techniques, and skills for recognizing, reducing, and managing violent and aggressive behavior. The program also provides humane and compassionate methods of dealing with aggressive people. Every technique – nonverbal, verbal, or physical is based on a solid principle. MOAB® addresses the multitude of crises and stages of a conflict. MOAB is the most innovative, comprehensive, and effective course on managing conflict, anxiety, and aggression for all industries and goes beyond the strategies for preventing and diffusing a crisis. Every MOAB® technique is based on researched principles that can be effectively mastered by all in diverse situations.

“The training makes a difference,” says Lites, who underwent MOAB training shortly after her attack. “Honestly, the holds in MOAB are so beneficial for nurses.”

“They teach holds where the patients are in front of you, behind you or laying down," she continued. "If I had learned the leg holds from MOAB, my situation may not have gotten to the point where it did. But the holds in MOAB are so beneficial and they just keep you safe and keep the patient safe without it escalating.”

Want to get your staff MOAB trained and certified?

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About The Author

Glenn Eiserloh, CHSP Senior Risk Consultant

Glenn Eiserloh has more than seventeen (17) years of loss prevention and risk management experience. Mr. Eiserloh has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of New Orleans in Finance with a concentration in insurance. He provides consultation services relative to workplace loss prevention, safety training, general liability risk reduction, worksite safety inspections, and trend analysis.

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