2 workers hospitalized after patient assault at New Hampshire hospital

Two employees at Hampstead (N.H.) Hospital, a state-run psychiatric hospital, were hospitalized March 17 after a patient "exhibited assaultive behaviors toward staff," Morissa Henn, deputy commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, told Becker's

Ms. Henn said the staff members were injured in two separate incidents involving an adolescent inpatient. She did not clarify the team members' roles but said "they are employees who regularly interact directly with patients on the units."

The staff members are expected to recover, and care for the roughly 35 other patients on the unit was not affected, according to Ms. Henn.

"We take what happened very seriously and hope that no staff ever experiences violence at work," she told Becker's on March 18. "At the same time, we recognize there has been some sensational reporting on the behaviors of one patient this weekend toward staff. Contrary to local buzz, nobody is on life support and nobody is going to die. All will recover and we as an institution will get through this bumpy period."

The patient involved in the incidents has since been transferred to an out-of-state facility, according to ABC affiliate WMUR. The state is also increasing staffing on units facing challenges, and its clinical contract is up for renewal this summer, which will be another opportunity to strengthen the care model, Ms. Henn said. 

Since the pandemic, healthcare organizations nationwide have seen a high prevalence and acuity of behavioral health needs among young people, according to Ms. Henn. 

"What we are seeing at Hampstead Hospital is not out of the ordinary when it comes to challenging behavior occurring," she said. "As a country and as a society, it's about making sure we're developing a full continuum of supports not just in our institutions, but in communities and families to support the well-being of young people."

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