State says easing some restraints for mentally ill 22 Feb 12

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – State officials say they’re phasing out the use of metal handcuffs and seclusion at a secure hospital for the mentally ill in the wake of maximum fines for client maltreatment.

The Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter was fined $2,200 in December for patient maltreatment and failure to report the maltreatment. The facility’s license was put on conditional probation for two years.

Some House committee members said at a hearing on the hospital’s progress Tuesday they are concerned about the use of restraints and seclusion in the treatment of the state’s hardest-to-care-for patients.

Human Services Deputy Commissioner Anne Barry said the hospital will be transitioning to the use of soft handcuffs only in very serious situations. Steven Pratt, the hospital’s interim medical director, said staff there is going through retraining.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)