Staff Shortage, Policy Changes Increase Assaults on Hospital Staff

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Injuries at Minnesota Security Hospital rose sharply in 2012 following a decrease in the number of staff.

The hospital recorded 40 employee injuries through July 30, the Associated Press reports. In all of 2011, there were 32 injuries. In that time, the number of permanent psychiatrists on the payroll dropped from six to one, who oversees the care of nearly 400 patients with the help of a rotating group of part-time and temporary employees.

Another contributing factor is a recent policy change in which the facility stopped using regular handcuffs to restrain violent patients and switched to Velcro restraints. Staff injuries increased because the new restraints took longer to fasten, according to Anne Barry, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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