Health officials reportedly isolate mental patients even with laws in place intended to keep it from happening.
Wired PR News.com – Some mental patients who’ve been hospitalized are said to be subjected to long-term isolation even though laws have been enacted to prevent it from happening. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the practice of isolating difficult psychiatric patients is not uncommon in mental hospitals across the country.
Reasons for the measure are stated to lie in the difficulty of treating patients who are violent or unresponsive to treatment. A lack of oversight in some hospitals and means of getting around state and federal laws enable the practices to continue, many times without intervention. However, in rare instances, as noted in the AP report, lawsuits have resulted from staff using restraints on patients and secluding them. Some patients are stated to be isolated for several years.
Many consider the issue to be extremely complex, and find it difficult to determine a plausible solution to ensure that the rights of all patients are protected. As quoted of Charlie McCarthy, who works with Disability Rights Montana, “Everybody’s frustrated with what do you do with somebody like this? The patient has rights, but the other patients have rights to be safe and free from abuse.”
Better staffing and training are examples of things advocates for the rights of mental health patients say would help prevent much of the need to isolate or restrain difficult patients.