BERT (Behavioral Emergency Response Team)
WellSpan’s initiative to reduce workplace violence and increase safety of patients and staff
The Behavioral Health Emergency Response Team (BERT) is an innovative effort to prevent workplace violence and improve safety at WellSpan Health hospitals by deescalating behavioral health emergencies.
BERT is a nursing-led initiative used to de-escalate high-risk situations utilizing creative methods from a multidisciplinary team of support personnel to prevent workplace violence and improve safety. Since the beginning of 2019, there have been nearly 700 BERT calls documented, with about 75 percent of them successfully de-escalated.
The program recently was honored with a prestigious Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) 2020 Achievement award in the category of Optimal Operations. HAP’s annual Achievement Awards honor Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems for their innovation, creativity and commitment to patient care.
The BERT concept was launched at WellSpan York Hospital and WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital in 2018, and the program has since expanded to WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon as well as WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital and WellSpan Philhaven Hospital in Lancaster County. WellSpan anticipates all WellSpan hospitals will have a BERT program in place by the end of 2021.