I am working at a baker act receiving mental health hospital. I work in the critical care crisis unit. I have just started working there, but I am trying to understand why the management doesn't provide sufficient protection to the staff, as well as patients. I know I work at a mental health hospital, and have to deal with patients that have unpredictable behaviors. However, what if there is a patient that management is aware of, that continuously attacks females by firmly grabbing hold of their hair and won't let go, until the hands are pried away by the techs, which literally rips the scalp away from their head! This is what's happening where I work. I have asked why the patient isn't put on a 1:1, and was told that no female techs will do it, in fear of being attacked. Understandable....but what about a male tech? I was told by a staff member that a male can't be on a 1:1 female, because of the patient may claim sexual harassment. Therefore, the patient continues to attack staff, as well as other patients. Patient is waiting on placement at state, because no one else is willing to accept her. How does your facility provide protection for you, if facing a similar situation?
Last edit by catnfl on Apr 17
This is going to sound so silly, even to me, but I would hope that any employees (incl males) would have their hair styled tightly to their head as to avoid the loose flowing Rapunzel locks so often seen in clinical areas.
I say this after I was watching a Sunday TV show on maximum US prisons with all those SWAT teams and high security measures. But then many of the female prison officers were wearing long ponytails or braids! Huh? I could just see one of those super violent prisoners grabbing out the hair.
This pt may require 2:1 supervision which is highly unlikely.
I'm sure she can't be isolated like in a prison, but maybe her environmental contacts can be kept to a minimum with as max staff as poss. The prisons escort with 2 or 3 or more staff as the violence rating increases.
Not to change the subject entirely, but similar problems occur when staff wear unsafe jewelry, specifically earrings the size of SUV hubcaps.
Mitts (mitt restraints) seem to me like the obvious place to start ...
Do you have emergency restraints? Seclusion? CPI or other similar crisis intervention (physical) training?
We have male staff on a 1 to 1 with female pts all the time. We just make sure that they stay on camera (most areas have cameras) and we swap out for showers and toilet. During shower and toilet we have 2 staff. 1 watches the patient and 1 watches the staff member who is watching the patient. This protects against accusations.
Anyone can claim sexually inappropriate behavior on anyone. Having 1 to 1s same sex doesn't solve that.
CPI teaches that in hair pulling you trap the hand against the head before unfolding rhe grasp. So you don't get scalped.
I'm sorry management does not have your back.
To start helping yourself, don't wear a ponytail. Keep hair tight to the head in a french braid. You can also purchase a stocking cap used in wrestling to wear in the patient's presence. I would.
Keep out of reach. Be very aware of the pts hands at all times. When you have to give a treatment have a male bald or short haired staff member with you whose sole job is to protect you from an attack.
I'm willing to bet you are at a UHS facility.
In my country we would report unsafe work to the managers as per our unsafe work forms provided by the college- we have a union and they automatically get involved. In the past we have had the labour board come in for unsafe 1:1 constant assignments and workload on the unit. If they were not adequately responsive to a patient assaulting staff, the labour board has also been called.
Must Read Topics