Report details alleged patient abuse by staff members at DC psychiatric hospital

Staff members abused multiple patients with illegal restraints, seclusion and other violations at Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., a new report from a disability rights group claims, according to The Washington City Paper.

 The report describes multiple illegal instances of restraint, which involves staff restricting patients' movements by holding them down or tying their arms and legs to a bed. The Disability Rights DC program at University Legal Services, a nonprofit agency that monitors treatment quality at D.C. hospitals, released the report July 31. 

District and federal law say restraints should only be used in emergency situations when all other options have been exhausted. Yet Saint Elizabeths' use of restraints has skyrocketed in recent years, from four uses in 2013 to 782 uses in 2018, according to public performance records. The hospital's seclusion rates have also increased. Patients spent 49 hours locked alone in a room in 2012, but they were secluded for almost 400 hours in 2018, the report says.

"Saint Elizabeths Hospital is committed to the highest standards of recovery-focused patient care," Mark Chastang, the hospital's CEO, told The Washington City Paper. "We are reviewing recommendations in the report and will continue our work with University Legal Services to make sure every patient gets the best and most appropriate treatment to recover and rejoin family and friends in the community."

Click here to read more about the DRDC report on Saint Elizabeths Hospital.

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