Delaware is under fire for warehousing psychiatric patients. Federal authorities have told the Delaware Psychiatric Center to make serious changes or face legal action.
Investigators with the Department of Justice say in a report the unnecessary use of restraints and medication, and a slew of other problems contributed to the untimely death of patients and led to illness and injury.
Delaware Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Rita Landgraf says the report findings didn’t come as a surprise.
“People should not come to DPC to live,” she said. “People should come to DPC to be stabilized, to get treatment, and to return back to their communities.”
Landgraf says she’s been trying to change the hospital to allow for more out-patient services, but bureaucracy has made it slow going. She’ll be looking for a more flexible budget from the state Legislature and collaborations with community-based service organizations to meet Department of Justice guidelines.
Jim Lafferty, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Delaware, agreed that money is lacking to support community-based services:
“Too many people are being kept in that hospital when they should be actually able to be transferred to the community so they can live in the community and receive appropriate treatment in the community.”
Lafferty said the state and federal governments want to enable change, they’re going to have to support the hospital financially.