Minnesota's largest psych hospital gets 11th citation for restraint use since 2016

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

Health officials cited St. Peter-based Minnesota Security Hospital for improperly using restraints on a patient at the state's largest psychiatric hospital last September, according to a report cited by the StarTribune.

The state investigative report, released Feb. 11, found that hospital employees put a patient with autism spectrum disorder in a restraint chair for more than an hour. Staff members also pulled the patient's sweatshirt over his head to prevent him from spitting on them.

Health officials determined these actions violated state law, which calls for restraint and seclusion tactics to be used only as emergency measures to mitigate the risk of harm. While the patient had refused to take his medications and was making verbal threats, he did not pose an immediate threat to anyone around him, investigators concluded.

Jodi Harpstead, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, said the agency is "troubled by the incident" in a written statement to StarTribune. The department is working to create a comprehensive plan to address improper restraint use, which will include additional staff training on how to de-escalate incidents with patients.

The state fined Minnesota Security Hospital $1,000 for the incident. The violation marks the 11th time the hospital has been cited for restraint issues since December 2016.

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