MEDICAL LAKE, Wash – In light of the recent patient murder at Eastern State Hospital police say was committed by a fellow patient at the psychiatric facility, concerns have surfaced over whether insufficient staffing levels may have played a role.
To view how the numbers break down, both for staffing and budgets over the last few years, according to DSHS, click on the diagram to the right. ----->
However, DSHS spokesperson John Wiley says ESH has not been flagged for having staffing levels below standards, by either the Joint Commission that accredits ESH, nor the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which certifies ESH. He also says a ward was closed in the last few years which resulted in some layoffs, and that in the last round of layoffs in 2011, direct care staff was not affected.
In addition, Wiley says on-call staff is available when an employee is gone, and that all employees complete training in personal security, violence prevention, and patient de-escalation. The Spokane County Sheriff's Department is still actively investigating the November 20th murder in which they say Amber Roberts, 30, strangled to death Duane Charley, 56.
Roberts remains in the Spokane County Jail on one count of murder. Her bond is set at $1 million dollars.