Western State Hospital to open unit for violence-prone patients

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Lakewood, Wash.-based Western State Hospital is opening a special treatment unit for violent patients in response to a recent uptick in attacks against employees, reports the Northwest News Network.

The state-run hospital will begin accepting patients in its Specialized Treatment, Assessment and Recovery unit Feb. 3. Staff members will work to treat the underlying causes of patients' violence, and patients can stay on the unit for up to 90 days.

In early 2018, officials fined Western State after an investigation found the hospital and the state's Department of Social and Health Services failed to reasonably protect employees from workplace violence.

Western State aims to cut the number of violent incidents carried out by these patients in half with the STAR unit. The hospital also plans to open a 20-bed "step up" unit in May for patients who are transitioning from the STAR unit back to general hospital wards.

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