Helmets ‘only recommendation’


The Southern District Health Board says it did not go ahead with a recommendation to issue helmets to mental health staff.
Yesterday, it was reported the board issued helmets after two assaults in which nurses were punched in the head.
The information was in a written response to an Official Information Act request.
Mental health nursing director Heather Casey said yesterday the helmets were “a recommendation only”.
“(This) was discussed at a clinical level around one particular patient and a decision was made that helmets were not required as the acute situation had resolved.
“Helmets have therefore not been issued to mental health staff but if a situation arises where an acutely unwell patient does hit out at staff and does target the head then protective headwear could be ordered as part of (protective equipment) available,” Ms Casey said.
In April, a nurse was concussed after being kicked and punched in the head and mid-body area. In another case, a nurse was punched in the head region by a patient.
In the first six months of 2017, 90 assaults occurred on mental health staff, compared with 84 in the whole of 2016. Otago Daily Times

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