Assaults on Minn. Hospital Staff Have More Than Doubled Since 2011 Settlement

St. Peter health programs experienced 173 assaults on hospital staff last year.

Minnesota state hospitals have experienced a sharp increase in staff assaults since a 2011 lawsuit settlement where the state agreed to change its restraint policies.

The 2011 settlement came after a report exposed improper use of restraints and seclusion techniques by staff and led to restraints being used only when patients show imminent danger. But that policy has led to a rise in assaults on staff and drawn criticism.

St. Peter health systems, which includes two health facilities in Minnesota, reported 173 assaults on staff members in 2014, far more than the 78 reported in 2011 before the change in policies, according to

In July, a patient attacked a nurse at Minnesota Security Hospital, sparking an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, or OSHA, to determine if the assault could’ve been prevented.

Multiple hospital staff members have publicly blamed the new policy for the rise in assaults, and the hospital says it is reviewing its safety procedures.

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