London

LHSC to review purple armband policy

After months of pressure, the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) announced it would review a policy that forces patients who are flagged potentially violent to wear purple armbands.

The announcement comes after months of pressure from patients and advocates

The entrance to Victoria Hospital at the London Health Sciences Centre. (Dave Chidley/CBC)

After months of pressure, the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) announced it would review a policy that forces patients who are flagged as potentially violent to wear purple armbands.

In a statement released Thursday, the LHSC said it is taking steps to review its application of the screening tool that's part of a settlement agreement with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

The review processes includes in-person consultations with patients and families and an analysis of data over a six-month period.

It's to "understand the impact of the tool and scoring system, and identify opportunities to improve the [Behaviour Safety Alert] process," read the statement.

The purple armband policy was implemented in May after a negotiated settlement between the LHSC and the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Ontario Nurses Association.  It was meant to ensure safety of patients, visitors and staff.

However, about 95 people have filed appeals.

Several doctors have spoken out against the policy and said it unfairly targets their mental health patients. Some doctors have even started to wear bracelets with the words 'Stop the Stigma'.

Victoria Hospital psychiatrists have started wearing these "Stop The Stigma" bracelets to protest a new screening tool that assesses patient risk based on past violent or aggressive behaviour. (Supplied)

The review process is set to be completed by the spring of this year.

The findings will be presented to some LHSC committees including the Joint Health and Safety Committee. Hospital officials didn't say whether the review findings would be made public.