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A psychiatric technician dies from a patient assault at a forensic psychiatric facility.
Public Health Institute
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 10CA009, 2012 Jul; :1-9
A psychiatric technician died after she was strangled by a patient at a forensic psychiatric facility. The patient assaulted the victim while the victim was walking alone across the large, open grounds of the facility Secure Treatment Area (STA)). The victim carried a personal alarm that was not able to transmit a signal inside to security personnel or treatment team staff from the STA grounds. At the time of the assault, security personnel were at the entrance to the STA but nowhere else within the grounds. The alleged assailant had been admitted to this facility in 1999 after conviction for violent assault and being declared not guilty by reason of insanity. He had a long, documented history of assault and verbal abuse to other patients and staff. The alleged assailant's unrestricted grounds pass had been suspended by his treatment team on two occasions because of physical and verbal assaults within three weeks prior to this incident. However, the treatment team restored his grounds pass and he was on the grounds of the STA without supervision on the day of the incident. The CA/FACE investigative team determined that, to prevent future occurrences, forensic psychiatric facilities should develop and implement a comprehensive written workplace violence injury prevention program. This program should include the following elements to reduce the risk of violent assaults to staff: 1) Security personnel or co-workers should accompany individual employees when walking through open or unsecured areas; 2) As part of an emergency response plan, personal alarms worn by employees should be operational throughout all areas of the facility; 3) The facility should assign hospital police officers and/or security personnel to locations where they can monitor patients for assaultive behavior; and 4) The facility should implement policies for issuing and suspending grounds passes for patients at risk of committing violent assault.
Region-9; Mortality-data; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-environment; Forensic-medicine; Psychiatrists; Psychological-factors; Psychological-reactions; Psychological-responses; Mental-disorders; Mental-health; Mental-illness; Warning-devices; Warning-signals; Behavioral-disorders; Emergency-response; Monitoring-systems; Surveillance
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
FACE-10CA009; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008468; B10242012
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division