State coroner Alastair Hope has criticised Graylands Hospital patients’ “easy access” to drugs and alcohol and expressed concern mentally ill people are being regularly physically restrained by staff.
Handing down his findings into the death of Warwick Andrew Ashdown today, Mr Hope said it was a “worrying and sad feature of mental health treatment”, that nurses were physically restraining patients on a regular basis.
Mr Ashdown was 27 when he died after being physically held by four male nurses and a male security guard at the Mt Claremont mental health facility in October 2007.
The 109kg man was in a psychotic state when the staff escorted him from an open to a secure ward before forcing him to the floor and holding his head down.
The pressure placed on Mr Ashdown’s neck resulted in cardiac arrhythmia which was the likely cause of his death. Mr Hope found Mr Ashdown died due to misadventure.
Today Mr Hope said while the staff did not intent to cause Mr Ashdown’s death, he questioned why the paranoid schizophrenic had to be restrained.
“I have serious concerns about this being an action of first response,” Mr Hope said.
“Even an otherwise calm person would be likely to respond violently to being forcefully taken by the head, for an agitated psychotic mental health patient this action was almost certain to result in resistance.”
Mr Hope recommended a major overhaul of staff training. He said restraint training should focu
Coroner criticises patient ‘easy drug’ access – The West Australian