Bridgewater State Hospital faces surprise survey over patient safety concerns

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

June 11, 2014

Prompted by patient safety concerns, The Joint Commission conducted a surprise survey last month of a Massachusetts medium-security prison housing about 280 men involved with the criminal justice system who are diagnosed as mentally ill, according to a report in the Boston Globe.
Details of the May 30 inspection at Bridgewater State Hospital were not released, but the accreditor generally does not conduct such surveys unless there are serious allegations or concerns of patient safety at the hospital, the report said. Bridgewater has 45 days to address the survey’s findings or risk losing its accreditation.
Reports in the Globe have reported that clinicians and guards at the prison have routinely used seclusion and restraints to control patients diagnosed as severely mentally ill, often in violation of state law, regulations, and the hospital’s own policies. In at least one case, these procedures have been blamed for a patient death, the report said. In addition, an investigation found that the use of seclusion and restraints climbed 27% through the end of 2013, the report said.
According to the Globe’s report, The Joint Commission allows the use of seclusion and restraints only if there is an immediate risk to the patient, and then only if there is an imminent risk to the patient harming themselves or others