Tentative settlement reached in Bridgewater patient abuse case

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

January 14, 2015

A settlement approved in a class action lawsuit aims to improve the treatment of patients with mental illness at Bridgewater State Hospital in Massachusetts, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

The settlement, still tentatively approved by a judge, would include measures such as a drastic reduction in the use of physical restraints and solitary confinement at the hospital, according to the article.

Complaints against the hospital were filed on behalf of three patients, including one who had been kept in solitary confinement for 6,400 hours during a single year, the article says. The settlement calls for several patient safety improvements at the facility and allows a Superior Court judge to oversee whether the state is meeting its commitments for up to four years.

The Joint Commission conducted a surprise survey of Bridgewater May 30, 2014 after several complaints, including at least one case where procedures were blamed for a patient death, according to a previous report in the Globe. That same report chronicled an investigation finding that use of seclusion and restraints climbed 27% through the end of 2013.