Surge in assaults on Western State Hospital staff

LAKEWOOD — The number of assaults on the staff at Western State Hospital is rising again after five years of decline.

The Seattle Times reported an independent review found that assaults by patients at the psychiatric hospital in Lakewood are on a pace to reach 412 this year.

There were 322 such assaults last year, 345 in 2011 and 301 in 2010.

Hospital officials are renewing a focus on staff safety at the hospital, which can hold 827 patients.

Nurses quoted in the report blamed the assaults on reduced staffing levels and said many incidents go unreported because there are so many of them.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

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