Solutions to hospital violence

This issue also features the latest news on sickle cell disease, conference coverage on infectious diseases, and a Q&A about Hurricane Maria recovery.

The news has been rife with reports of violence in hospitals this year, including a doctor who shot colleagues and a patient in the Bronx in June and a patient who took nurses hostage in Illinois in May. In this month's main story, staff writer Mollie Durkin analyzes the dangers facing health care workers—not just these dramatically life-threatening examples, but more common assaults like a slap from a patient with dementia. Both hospitals and clinicians are increasingly recognizing this violence as a problem and employing strategies to deal with it, or better yet, stop it before it happens.

On the clinical front, researchers are trying to stop sickle cell disease, as another article in this issue explains. A new drug treatment was approved this summer, and while experts have limited expectations for its potential to change care, they are optimistic about a number of other therapeutic options in the pipeline. Assess your knowledge of the current standard of care for sickle cell patients with a related Test Yourself.

This issue also includes coverage from IDWeek, the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Learn about the potential and pitfalls of using probiotics to prevent and treat disease, and prepare for The Joint Commission's new antibiotic stewardship surveys.

Speaking of preparation, this month's Success Story features a project that helped patients make a difficult choice with better understanding of the consequences. A short educational video significantly changed the code status decision making of older inpatients who watched it. And this month's Q&A is a dispatch from Puerto Rico. Learn how recovery efforts are going after Hurricane Maria and what you can do to help.

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Stacey Butterfield