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Patient self-harm at psych hospital prompts staff retraining

November 18, 2021 GMT

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — Officials at a state-run psychiatric hospital in Rhode Island say they’ll retrain staff on security measures after a patient swallowed a shaving razor.

Eleanor Slater Hospital in Cranston submitted a plan to the state health department on Wednesday outlining how it will reeducate all staff on patient pat-downs and room searches, The Boston Globe reports.

The newspaper says a patient with borderline personality disorder and a history of self-harm was found on the bathroom floor with ties from a hospital gown wrapped around their neck in October.

The unnamed patient had also a swallowed the head of a shaving razor and had to be treated at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.

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The Globe reports the patient had earned the ability to use the razor unsupervised for hygiene purposes but the gown ties were likely brought into the secure hospital by the patient. The newspaper said there was no documentation to prove the patient had been searched.

The hospital’s corrective plan calls for documenting patient searches and submitting monthly audits to the hospital’s leadership team, the newspaper reports. The patient who swallowed the razor also won’t be allowed to have one going forward.

The episode is the latest concerning incident at the hospital, which treats residents with long-term medical and psychiatric needs. In August, a patient partially removed their own eye with a spoon.

The hospital has also come under fire over a downsizing plan that critics say has led to the discharge of patients with few or no care alternatives. And it’s faced a string of resignations among doctors and other staff, and the nurses’ union has voted no confidence in hospital leaders.