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Patients at risk when medical facility uses open-plan design

Violence never has a place in a hospital or care center. When people go to seek care, they need a calm environment where they feel safe. Some people struggle with mental health conditions that may make them violent when least expected. For that reason, many hospitals and intake centers limit patients' exposure to one another and have safeguards in place to prevent attacks.

That's not the case at one center. Unity Center for Behavioral Health has a living-room style intake center. This is an area also known as the Psychiatric Emergency Services area or "PES." In the PES, an open-model plan makes it easier for patients to attack other patients or caregivers. While having a central area between patients' rooms and appointments, it has led to several serious attacks and resulted in deaths.

It has been claimed that the reason for the open plan was to save money. Saving money, in this case, may be the kind of negligent act that led to several patients getting hurt and others dying at the facility. The center focuses on treating those with psychiatric concerns, but intake patients share one large, open room and may stay there for up to 23 hours before heading to a private room for care. They also share their information in that open room, where they have little privacy.

There are four things you need to prove to show that a hospital was negligent with a patient. You'll want to show that the hospital had a duty to the patient, that there was a breach of the duty, that the hospital's actions led to the patient's injuries and that there were financial damages as a result. In a situation like above, showing that negligence in designing a facility led to injuries could be enough to create a basis for a lawsuit.

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