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State ensures safety measures for nurses, workers in mental health facilities     Send a link to a friend

[OCT. 20, 2004]  CHICAGO -- On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Human Services released the following statement in response to the Illinois Nurses Association call for increased security measures in the wake of three sporadic incidents at state-run mental health facilities:

"We are absolutely concerned with the safety of our employees," said Nancy Staples, R.N., M.S., M.B.A., associate director for state hospitals. "We recognize our nurses, technicians and administrative staff work in challenging and sometimes unpredictable environments where there is a possibility violence can occur.

"We have taken proactive steps to reduce violence in our facilities, including the development of violence prevention programs and extensive pre-admission screenings for at-risk patients, followed by an appropriate treatment plan. We not only want to ensure safety for our workers but reduce the threat of violence against other patients as well.

"Working in state psychiatric hospitals is a high-risk business, and this is not exclusive to Illinois. Our nurses remain on the front line of critical care and mental health treatment and are valued in their service to our state," she said.

The Illinois Department of Human Services currently serves nearly 1,500 patients at nine state-operated mental health facilities.

[Illinois Department of Human Services news release]

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