Vermont psych hospital cited after patient tries to swallow plastic bag

CMS cited Brattleboro (Vt.) Retreat for giving patients access to plastic bags that could be used for self-harm, according to VTDigger.

The citation relates to a June 13 incident in which staff members at the nonprofit psychiatric hospital discovered a patient lying on the bathroom floor after attempting to swallow a plastic bag. The patient, who was previously deemed at a "moderate risk" for suicide, obtained the plastic bag from a locked trash can in the unit.

Regulators placed the hospital on "immediate jeopardy" status July 25 after discovering several issues relating to self-harm risks and patient restraint practices. CMS lifted this status within a few hours, after the hospital removed all plastic bags from the facility's trash cans. The hospital had previously only removed the plastic bags from the specific unit where the incident occurred, according to Meghan Baston, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer at Brattleboro Retreat.

The hospital has since submitted a full plan of correction to CMS. Health officials revisited the facility in September and deemed it in compliance with all federal standards.

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