Feb 29, 2012 7:36 PM by Courtney Meznarich

Report details assaults over past year at Atascadero State Hospital

In the first four months of 2011, more than 100 patients and staff members were assaulted at Atascadero State Hospital each month. But a report released to KSBY Wednesday shows the number of attacks is actually decreasing since the beginning of last year.

In January 2011, there were 60 reports of aggressive acts by patients on employees, and 73 between patients. But last month, that number was down by nearly half to just over 43 aggressive acts on staff members and 32 between patients.

The State Department of Mental Health defines an aggressive act as one that includes hitting, pushing, kicking, or similar acts directed against a staff member that causes potential or actual injury. This means incidents when an employee is not injured, but could have been, are also counted in the report.

The severity of the acts, based on whether they required no treatment, first aid or medical treatment, varied. In January 2011, no treatment or only first aid was required for most of the attacks. Only seven patients required medical treatment after being attacked by patients, and there were no patients or staff members who required hospitalization. This past January, two of the 32 patients attacked by patients needed medical treatment, and four of the 43 staff members attacked needed it. Again, no patients or staff members required hospitalization. In fact, not a single patient or staff member required hospitalization in any of the 1,163 reported aggressive acts between January 2011 and January 2012, according to the Department of Mental Health.

The Department of Mental Health says the numbers, which decrease steadily for the most part over 2011, are evidence the new Enhanced Treatment Unit is working. The unit was implemented late last year to decrease attacks. Aggressive patients are in a separate area where they receive more one-on-one treatment and have an increased staff to patient ratio. The most noted decreases in this latest report occurred in patient on patient assaults.

The number of aggressive acts between February 2011 to December 2011 follow:

February 2011: 101 total reports; 64 on patients and 37 on employees

March 2011: 114 total reports; 58 on patients; 56 on employees

April 2011: 125 total reports; 62 on patients; 63 on employees

May 2011: 83 total reports; 46 on patients; 37 on employees

June 2011: 73 total reports; 38 on patients; 35 on employees

July 2011: 91 total reports; 46 on patients; 45 on employees

August 2011: 77 total reports; 36 on patients; 41 on employees

September 2011: 64 total reports; 35 on patients; 29 on employees

October 2011: 65 total reports; 33 on patients; 32 on employees

November 2011: 95 total reports; 56 on patients; 39 on employees

December 2011: 67 total reports; 27 on patients; 40 on employees



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