ASH Watch

11 injuries occurred at ASH since late January

Six of the incidents happened when staff members were trying to calm patients, according to report

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comFebruary 24, 2013 

Atascadero State Hospital

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Nearly a dozen employees at Atascadero State Hospital were hurt during aggressive incidents with patients since the end of January, according to a preliminary report from the mental health facility.

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 17, the incidents resulted in injuries that varied in severity, including bruising, knee pain and a sore jaw.

Assaults occur when patients become agitated and behave violently toward staff in the course of a day, according to the hospital.

Licensed for 1,275 patients, ASH is one of five state hospitals that treat violent offenders who are mentally ill.

Physical-injury incidents between patients and staff are typically broken down into how they occurred: either by sudden, outright assaults or when a patient is being stabilized after exhibiting aggressive behavior.

Stabilization incidents, also known as containment incidents, occur when patients become violent and resist staff members who are trying to calm them. Staff tries to contain patients by administering medication, physically restraining them or secluding them in a room, according to the hospital.

In the latest string of incidents, five employees were hurt in aggressive incidents while six employees were hurt while stabilizing patients.

Three of the acts reported involved situations where two employees were hurt during the same incident.

Staff names are not released, and job titles remain general in attack reports to protect the identity of employees, officials said.

All the incidents where employees were hurt in recent weeks involved nursing staff, according to the report. That classification of staff includes psychiatric technicians and registered nurses.

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