Nurses working in the long-term care field are pleased to see a proposed rule that aims to address violence that can occur in the workplace.

On Friday, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced new legislation that he hopes will help curb violence that can occur in nursing homes and other healthcare settings. The “Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act” would require healthcare and social service employers to create and implement workplace violence prevention plans to help keep workers safe.

“We expect healthcare and social service employees to care for us in our times of need, but we know that each year, these men and women are faced with rising rates of violence, often from patients and their families,” Courtney said in a statement. This legislation, he added, would do what advocates have been requesting for years — “create an enforceable standard to ensure that employers are taking these risks seriously, and creating safe workplaces that their employees deserve.”

The American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing had not yet reviewed the legislation on Monday, according to President and CEO Tracey Moorhead, but she said the group supports the notion of reducing violence in the field. She noted that post-acute nurses and other employees often treat residents battling diseases that can result in agitation, sundowning, and physical and verbal behavioral expression that “can cause harm to themselves and others.”

“Workplace violence is a serious and growing concern for healthcare workers at all professional levels and across care settings,” Moorhead told McKnight’s. “AAPACN would support efforts to establish minimum standards and protections for healthcare and social service providers. Such standards would be ideally incorporated into a facility’s federally required facility assessment and emergency plans.”

In some cases, nursing facilities care for residents who were former sex offenders, state hospital patients or served time in correctional facilities. “Such residents create risks and challenges to resident and staff safety. We support efforts to protect these vital caregivers while ensuring residents receive appropriate care,” Moorhead added.

National Nurses United also expressed support for the legislation on Friday.