Oregon Public Broadcasting
took on the issue of understaffing and violence in the workplace at Oregon
State Hospital on its "Think Out Loud" program Sept. 25.
Oregon AFSCME Local 3295
Vice President Faith Faddis was OPB's in-studio guest. Local 3295 represents
about 300 registered nurses at OSH. Faddis works at the hospital's small
Faddis explained how back-up
personnel are rarely available when patients turn violent, and detailed how the
state's stringent abuse laws make nurses hesitant to take necessary action when
patients spin out of control.
OSH Superintendent Greg
Roberts, who joined the program by phone, said the hospital does have enough
nursing staff, yet acknowledged that nonetheless, there isn't always the right
amount of people working on each shift. Faddis was frustrated by Roberts'
contention, which contradicted information he gave the local ahead of
legislative visits earlier this month.
Attorney Bob Joondeph, a
patients' rights advocate well known for his fundamental anti-institution
stance, said by phone that nurses and other staff would not need to use
seclusion rooms and personal restraints "if they were trained correctly."
Faddis countered that nursing staff "never wants to use seclusion or restraints, but there are clients
who often leave us no other choice."
She also noted that such
incidents not only impacts the patient acting out and a disproportionate number
of staff, but therefore also robs the other clients of the active treatment
they should be receiving.
You can listen to the entire
interview on an OPB