Utilization of the Fordham Risk Screening Tool for violence risk assessment in an emergency department

Document Type


Publication Date



Emergency Medicine

Journal Title

Academic emergency medicine : official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

MeSH Headings

Adult; Humans; Reproducibility of Results; Risk Assessment; Emergency Service, Hospital; Risk Management; Violence


BACKGROUND: Violence is a critical problem in the emergency department (ED) and patients experiencing mental health crises are at greater violence risk; however, tools appropriate for assessing violence risk in the ED are limited. Our goal was to evaluate the utility of the Fordham Risk Screening Tool (FRST) in reliability assessing violence risk in adult ED patients with acute mental health crises through evaluation of test characteristics compared to a reference standard. METHODS: We evaluated performance of the FRST when used with a convenience sample of ED patients undergoing acute psychiatric evaluation. Participants underwent assessment with the FRST and an established reference standard, the Historical Clinical Risk Management-20, Version 3 (HCR-20 V3). Diagnostic performance was assessed through evaluation of test characteristics and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC). Psychometric assessments examined the measurement properties of the FRST. RESULTS: A total of 105 participants were enrolled. In comparison to the reference standard, the AUROC for the predictive ability of the FRST was 0.88 (standard error 0.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.81-0.96). Sensitivity was 84% (95% CI 69%-94%) while specificity was 93% (95% CI 83%-98%). The positive predictive value was 87% (95% CI 73%-94%) and negative predictive value was 91% (95% CI 83%-86%). Psychometric analyses provided reliability and validity evidence for the FRST when used in the ED setting. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the potential utility of the FRST when used to assess violence risk in adult ED patients experiencing a mental health crisis. Future research with more diverse populations and ED settings is warranted.


Douglas Johnston- Resident

Ben Guido- Resident

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