Montreal Douglas Institute launches 'emergency measures task force'

A task force has been put together to increase safety measures at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.

Following recent attacks, nurse union says employees 'don’t feel secure'

The new task force, called the Emergency Measures Task Force, will prioritize the purchase of metal detectors for the hospital, and will look into other ways they can increase security. (CBC)

A task force has been put together to increase safety measures at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute — an initiative that comes after a patient is alleged to have attacked two hospital staff members this spring.

The new emergency measures task force will prioritize the purchase of metal detectors for the hospital will look into other ways security can be improved.

The hospital has applied for government funding to pay for some of those measures.

The hospital currently has a metal detector at the front entrance, as well as an intercom in the intensive care unit.

In a statement, the Montreal West Island IUHSSC, the regional health authority that administers the hospital, says the new committee will work on increasing security for both patients and staff.

"It's important to keep in mind that describing individuals living with mental health issues as violent contributes to their stigmatization," the statement says.

"These are among the most vulnerable members of our society, and it is for precisely those reasons that we provide them with the care and services they need."

2 attacks in 2 months

Earlier this month, a 63-year-old orderly at the Douglas was critically injured after he was allegedly attacked by a patient in the intensive care unit.

He was the only orderly on the floor that night, with three nurses working nearby. He had been making the rounds to check on patients when he was attacked.

The orderly was transferred to intensive care three days ago, said Elizabeth Rich, the vice-president of workplace health and security at Quebec's largest nurses union (FIQ). 

There is no word on his current condition, she said.

The patient involved in that incident had allegedly attacked a nurse at the hospital a month earlier, Rich said.

Rich said the new measures are a good start, but she would like the hospital to involve the union in that process.

"Our concerns were the employer didn't ask the union to try to find measures to keep employees safe," she said.

"Right now, people don't feel secure to work there."

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak


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