Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Patient Attacked Staff

Physical altercations are commonplace where I work.  Most are mild incidents with no long-term damage, but still make for an unstable and hostile work environment.  This week, I was present for a bad fight when a patient attacked a staff member and strangled him into unconsciousness.

This particular patient is too dangerous.  His attacks have been escalating.  There are facilities for long-term treatment of very dangerous psych patients.  The problem is that they are at capacity.  All over the country, psychiatric care facilities are closing.  The milder cases are pushed to the street while the worst fill the beds.  The facility where I work was not designed and is not equipped to handle very dangerous people, but with no beds available at a more appropriate facility, the truly dangerous now call this low-security psych treatment facility "home."  They call the staff whatever they wish and they punch whomever they want.  The response from management is to transfer the staff member's assignment to a different area of the building, as if this was a peculiar personal conflict that won't repeat.

I don't foresee more funding and additional facilities appearing by tomorrow, so the next best step may be for the facility to change some policies and allow more aggressive medication and restraint of these dangerous patients.

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