Pressing charges on a psych patient?

Published

I was just wondering if it is possible (or silly/ right/wrong) to press assault charges on a psych patient on a psych unit?

I work on a gero-psych unit and have been assaulted some time ago and not too long ago a coworker got a broken nose from getting punched by that same pt...

I am just curious if it's possible to press charges on the pt or because the pt is being evaluated and treated in a psych unit that it would be pointless or deemed silly since that's the reason the pt was admitted in the first place...?

And btw, although my unit is technically "psych" we are not stricly psych-- we allow IV poles and call lights w/wires (which has been used as potential weapons several times), although we don't allow knives, we do allow forks and don't count utensils post meal, etc.

leevil

10 Posts

Specializes in psych. Has 15 years experience.

No, you should not press charges. You should press a chair up against his head while he's sleeping..

Davey Do

1 Article; 10,186 Posts

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 44 years experience.

Little_Mouse:

There was a really good discussion recently on this topic. Check it out to read how some at AN.com feel about violence against Nurses:

https://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/violence-against-nurses-514904.html#post4624555

If that doesn't get you there, the name of the topic was "violence against nurses".

I posted on that thread and basically believe that Individuals need to have to deal with the ramifications of their actions in order to grow. Some need to have to deal with the ramifications of their actions in order to realize boundaries.

Please feel free to send me a PM if you would like to discuss anything in more detail.

Dave

Specializes in Psych, LTC, Telementry. Has 10 years experience.

:nurse: I believe he meant to say "Pillow Therapy". We all have thought's like this when a really psychotic patient

is acting out! But we would NEVER act on it. Instead we treat these patients with loving care. They are fragile and need alot of TLC!!!!!:yeah:

Specializes in Correctional, QA, Geriatrics. Has 39 years experience.

Personally I think you should, at a minimum, report the assault(s) to the police. Technically the police decide, not the person making the complaint, if charges are warranted given the information provided combined with any investigation they do. However there should be a report made regardless of whether charges are filed with the DA. These reports do stay in the system and can show a pattern of violence if there are future occurances. Without these reports it becomes less likely charges will be pursued and/or the person face legal consquences for their actions.

Being mentally ill is not an automatic "get out of jail free card". Nor does being mentally ill mean a person is unaware of their actions at all times or unable to understand that their actions are harmful to others.

ImThatGuy, BSN, RN

2,139 Posts

Yes, as an officer, I feel you should report it. Since you don't really ever cure psych issues it's better to establish the pattern of violence and aggression now.

Besides we have a place we might like to put someone like that when you're done with them, lol.

ocean waves

143 Posts

Has 35 years experience.

Hello. Sorry you were "assaulted some time ago by a psych patient" ! Working with psych patients can be extremely challenging! I have had psych and non-psych patients swing at me when they were highly agitated, and one patient kicked me in the stomach when he was very disoriented. When the kick incident happened, I immediately called our hospital security staff and they came right up to my unit to help handle the situation. At that time, the security staff did not advise me to press any charges against this mentally impaired patient. One option might be to talk with your nursing supervisor about any current policies for such scary situations. Best wishes!

shoegalRN, RN

1,338 Posts

I don't care, mentally ill or not, if you hit me, I'm pressing charges. I don't care what my hospital says.

netglow, ASN, RN

4,412 Posts

I agree with everybody else.

Watch this psych patient decides to start saying you did all manner of things to him/her and reports you. There was a thread with this scenario a little while back where a nurse was being thrown to the wolves. So, I'd document it in great detail. This could also be an issue where there is a change in condition on top of it all. Maybe new meds or higher level of care is needed. Don't get me wrong, if someone assaults me, I protect myself, nursing is a job and nothing more. I am not a martyre. You need a paper trail to protect you.

ok2bme

428 Posts

Specializes in Psych, EMS.

Absolutely. Some psych pts like to act out and act the fool because they think it's expected and they can get away with it. I don't care what environment you are in; unless I am threatening your life you cannot assault me. We are not punching bags, we have basic human rights and constitutional rights including the right to be safe and treated justly. Shock the hell out of these fools, vindicate yourself, and press charges!

Guest717236

1,062 Posts

Yes, as an officer, I feel you should report it. Since you don't really ever cure psych issues it's better to establish the pattern of violence and aggression now.

Besides we have a place we might like to put someone like that when you're done with them, lol.

In certain jobs (working for state or Federal) , you are not allowed to press charges . At least in our area.

I agree with the quote above. The time I was assaulted the "psych" patient had substance issues as the diagnosis along with a history of legal problems.

I was disappointed I could not press charges

as I felt I was enabling this inappropriate behavior and violent.

But as I am sure ImThatGuy is aware, this type of individual is no stranger to the legal system

and next time, charges along with accountability will stick.

Flo., BSN, RN

571 Posts

Specializes in Developmental Disabilites,. Has 7 years experience.

Just because someone is in a psych unit does not mean they do not know right from wrong. Press Charges.