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Nurses fear even more ER assaults as programs cut

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posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 08:47 PM

Violence against nurses and other medical professionals appears to be increasing around the country as the number of drug addicts, alcoholics and psychiatric patients showing up at emergency rooms climbs.

Visits to ERs for drug- and alcohol-related incidents climbed from about 1.6 million in 2005 to nearly 2 million in 2008, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. From 2006 to 2008, the number of those visits resulting in violence jumped from 16,277 to 21,406, the agency said.

Nurses and experts in mental health and addiction say the problem has only been getting worse since then because of the downturn in the economy, as cash-strapped states close state hospitals, cut mental health jobs, eliminate addiction programs and curtail other services.

Robert Glover, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, said economic hard times are the worst time for cuts to mental health programs because anxieties about job loss and lack of insurance increase drug and alcohol use and family fights.

Decrease in funding, and an increase in violence. In my opinion, healthcare is one of the worst things to cut funding to. The article says that drug and alcohol use is on the rise, along with domestic violence.

I hope the economy starts to pick up soon. If the hospitals have to start turning away patients because of violence and funding cuts, things could get really bad.

I dont have much else to add, just thought I would share this with everyone on here.

Edit - Heres a thread I made in June about Minnesota nurses striking. It somewhat goes with this thread to. Thread

[edit on 10-8-2010 by buni11687]

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 08:52 PM
This, and a few other threads over the last few days seem to show a trend that the present administration seems bent upon picking targets of opportunity - IE the most defenseless amongst us.

I am sure I'll get flamed by people saying that drug addicts are not defenseless and that they are victims of their own behaviors. I happen to agree but I also think that drug addicts are sick people who will require help to recover and are unlikely to recover if left to their own devices.

The mentally ill definitely qualify as easy targets though.

We simply cannot afford, as a society, to continue on this path.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 08:58 PM
reply to post by buni11687

I've been told way crazier stories by some of the staff at one of the local hospitals here.

I want to be a nurse. Although in the course of an 8 hour shift as an EMT Basic student I got to see several psych patients. One of whom described in detail to me how I should die, and who should kill me.

And why I should die.

And all I was doing was observing. Quietly.

I won't repeat the things she said to some of the nurses and the ER Physician, social worker, and police officer who brought her in.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:16 PM
I work in the mental health field, and I can tell you from 8 years of experience that the situation on the ground is DIRE. Many counties no longer even have a crisis unit! So that means psychiatric emergencies (those on 72-hour psychiatric detentions, what we call "5150" in California) are taken to hospital emergency rooms where they are triaged, sedated and then must wait hours (and sometimes MANY hours) for a county mental health security transporter to take them to a psychiatric hospital that is sometimes hundreds of miles away.

Many of these patients are in an unmedicated state of psychosis when they arrive and are extremely agitated, hallucinating or may be very paranoid. They are also angered by having been detained by cops against their will. So yes, in this state they can sometimes be very dangerous.

Where I am, we do have a mental health crisis unit. Our local ER pleads with us every year PLEEEEZ do not close your crisis unit!!!! They do not want to triage psyche patients for the very reason this article speaks of.

ER Doctors and nurses are trained to handle medical illnesses, trauma, etc. They are not very trained in dealing with mentally ill people. WE ARE. So wherever you are, please advocate for your local county mental health dept. If they have a crisis unit, tell your county reps you want it to stay open. If they don't have one, start demanding they open one. If administrators are resourceful, there are ways to fund it (i.e., medicaid, grants, etc.)

Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:31 PM
I did a quick search and found this article on the internet.

Mental Patients Wait Days for Help

RALEIGH — Patients needing treatment at psychiatric hospitals are waiting for nearly three days on average in emergency rooms and crisis centers across North Carolina, according to a report released Friday.

“Hospital emergency departments are in a very difficult spot,” said Ann Akland, chairwoman of the Wake County group’s advocacy division. “They don’t have the resources to treat these patients. Some of them don’t even have a psychiatrist on call.”

The average wait for patients needing psychiatric care was 2.6 days, compared to an average wait time of less than five hours for all emergency room patients. Some psychiatric patients waited much longer, including 212 who were in emergency rooms for seven days or more.

The result of the long wait times, according to the report, is patients with mental illnesses are often simply restrained, whether by velcro or leather straps or medication, rather than being promptly treated.

The group says the problem lies with the state’s decision, starting in 2001, to reduce the number of beds in state hospitals available to psychiatric patients. That reduction was supposed to be offset by a growth in community-based services like day programs, home visits from mental health professionals and group homes, which the Wake group says never materialized.

The above article is just in North Carolina, but I could imagine that this is widespread across the country.

Some people waited up to 7 days or more!!!! That just boggles my mind right there. I mean seriously! 7 Days? I never would of that it would be that bad. I mean, this kind of stuff dosent really even make it to main stream news. Its like the situation is being brushed under the rug. Imagine if you had to wait 7 days. I dont really know what to say.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 10:46 PM
This is just further proof of the huge failure the war on drugs is, not to mention all the millions they spend on it that contribute to why the economy is screwed.

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 03:19 AM
It's true that the violence comes with the territory when you work in the ER. It's horrible that mental/state hospitals are closing and putting strain on hospitals. For anyone who's working especially in an emergency department, make sure you know what your security department's intervention training program is. They may have what's called Crisis Prevention Institute, TEAM or some other program. Programs such as TEAM will teach not only security personnel but ER staff as well. These programs will teach verbal responses and physical restraint/take-downs of violent persons.

posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 03:24 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

misread the thread

[edit on 11-8-2010 by woodwardjnr]

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