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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 90419
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Direct care givers are required by an employers policy to

Customer Question

Direct care givers are required by an employer's policy to follow a violent patient in close enough proximity to prevents attacks on other patients. The violent patient may become spontaneously enraged and attack with grabs, hand strikes, kick, and thrown objects. The attacker is very strong and the behavior is chronic. The violent patient continously walks about the active, and maximally populated house freely. In addition, other patients are not allowed to sit on community furniture such as couches if the violent patient chooses this seat requiring constat redirection of patients away from furniture they have a right to share. Having someone in close proximity can anger the violent patient an increase his aggression. The protective method has never been demonstrated by the employer or included in employee training. Both staff members and other patiens have already been injured by this man--this is well documented. Clearly, staff members and patients have been and are continually in danger of being attacked and injured. Does this employee's policy constitute endangerment or any other illegal or crimiinal act?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 12 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

The employer's policy does not constitute any illegal or criminal act, as there is no law that prevents an employer from having a policy that is minimally invasive to the rights of the violent patient to protect the patient and employees and other patients from the violent patient. This is a policy issue, not a criminal matter. Unfortunately, if an employee is injured following policy, it is a claim under workers compensation, as employees who work in such facilities where violent patients are housed have to assume the risk that when working with violent patients these outbursts may occur. The laws in WA forbid permanent physical restraint, which would realistically be the only way to prevent the violent outbursts, so each facility must try to craft their policy in the best way they possibly can to try to protect everyone (including the violent patient's rights).

Unfortunately, you are going to have to work on crafting some better policy with the employer and not just pointing out the flaws in this policy based on the specific needs of your facility.




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Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Thanks for the quick response. The other patients on the house are a part of the public, they are in danger of serious injury. They also should have the right to free run on the house and to be allowed fair access to seating and spatial independence. I don't understand why this is not public endangerment or a violation of the rights of these other vulnerable people.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 12 months ago.
Thank you for your response.

If the house is being negligent in protecting other patients, those patients can file a civil suit against the owners of the facility if they become injured through the negligence of the facility. I understand your concern here and if the facility is not taking proper measures to protect the patients the patients can sue the facility, but it is a civil matter not a criminal one.
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Thank you, Paul. I cannot stand by and watch innocent people be hurt. Your legal advice has been very helpful.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 12 months ago.
Thank you very much. Remember we provide information only, not legal advice as for legal advice you need to physically sit with a local attorney.

You should not stand by to watch them get hurt, you need to work with the employer to improve the situation with solutions. Also, you can seek to report this to social services or department of health and hospitals, whoever the facility is governed by, to come in and do an inspection for any violations.

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