Report: State Mental Health Hospital Needs More Staff - 8 News NOW

Report: State Mental Health Hospital Needs More Staff

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LAS VEGAS -- An independent review of a state-run mental health hospital gave high marks for patient satisfaction, but said options for people needing mental health care are limited.

The review was ordered after the I-Team reported that Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital patients were being bused out of state with no known person at the other end to assist them.

The Sacramento Bee was the first to report on the busing of mental health patients to California.

"Regarding overall discharge practices at RNPH, we found a complex set of circumstances that defy simple conclusions," the report said. "Las Vegas is a magnet city that attracts visitors from all over the United States and abroad. Many charts that we reviewed reflect this reality of patients with primary ties outside the state of Nevada. We found nothing per se inappropriate with discharge plans that included state-funded arrangements to return these individuals to their places of primary residence.

"In many cases, helping people to get home safely is a kindness to them and to their families. Some of these written plans, however, lacked adequate specificity of aftercare arrangements."

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Staff told the reviewers that they often feel under pressure to move patients out of the hospital as quickly as possible to free up beds for others.

The report also found that there was a need for more staff. It also suggested that an increase in the amount of high-quality, evidence-based psychiatric and psychological treatment is needed.

But patients, the report said, told the doctors reviewing Rawson-Neal, that they were happy with the treatment from the doctors, nurses and other staff that they received.

"Virtually every patient with whom we spoke reported feeling safe and respected," the report said. "This is an unusual and remarkable accomplishment.

Read the report here

Some patients who could be served by another clinic have limited or no access to those services, the report said. The report suggested more options for people who need to detoxify from alcohol or drug addictions; short-term crisis or respite care; and transitional housing. The system also lacks extended-stay beds for the patients who need long-term care.

The review also suggested a significant expansion of treatment services and a reorganization of staff assignments.

"Every state currently grapples with issues similar to the ones identified in this report," the report said. "Indeed, during the past 12 years of fiscal challenges, state mental health systems across the country have experienced severe cuts in funding."

In a statement, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said the state is committed to implementing the review's recommendation.

"Nevada is committed to ensuring that vulnerable members of society are treated with dignity and care," Sandoval said. "As I have stated before, improperly discharging one patient is one patient too many."

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