Abbotsford Regional Hospital (Black Press file photo)

Abbotsford Regional Hospital (Black Press file photo)

Nurse assaulted at Abbotsford hospital in same ward as 2019 dumbbell attack

‘Completely unacceptable that nurses continue to be assaulted,’ says union president

The BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) has confirmed that a nurse was assaulted last month in the same unit of Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) where a patient struck a nurse with a dumbbell in 2019.

The assault occurred Monday, Feb. 22 in the Baker 2 ward.

BCNU president Christine Sorensen said, due to privacy issues, she can’t give specific details about the incident, including the nature of the assault and the injuries sustained by the nurse.

“What I can tell you is that …. the nurse was assaulted so badly that they had to be assessed in the emergency room. They did take some time off, and I believe they’re still off,” she said.

“There were a number of other nurses who were witness to the assault and also had to participate in redirecting the patient and protecting the nurse, and those nurses are also quite traumatized.”

Sorensen said the patient was “known to have a history of violence, and efforts were being made to help manage his care” at the time of the attack.

RELATED: Nurse suffers broken jaw in patient ‘ambush’ at Abbotsford hospital

RELATED: Man who assaulted nurse in Abbotsford sentenced to three months in jail

She said the nurses involved have received critical incident stress debriefing and have been directed to access further support services if needed.

A Fraser Health spokesman also confirmed the incident, saying on March 4 that the nurse who was assaulted is recovering from minor injuries.

“We are providing support to the nurse and have implemented an updated care plan for this patient that includes having security in the room and two care staff when the patients requires care,” he stated in an email.

Sgt. Judy Bird said the Abbotsford Police Department attended, but no charges are being recommended due to the patient’s “diminished mental capacity” at the time of the assault.

Sorensen said violence against nurses has been an issue for years, and the BCNU has been calling for safety officers to be implemented at 21 high-risk sites across the province, including ARH.

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified these issues, she said.

“Many people are very frustrated that their family members perhaps aren’t getting the care as quickly as they may have wanted. People are equally frustrated now about the vaccine rollout. Unfortunately, we do see the anxiety and frustration in the public transfer to how they interact with nurses,” Sorensen said.

She said additional strain has resulted from the increasing numbers of people being admitted for mental-health concerns who are often not able to be placed in a psychiatric unit. Instead, they are placed in hallways, emergency departments or other units, she added.

Sorensen said inappropriate staffing levels is another factor that contributes to violence. There was already a national nursing shortage but the pandemic has contributed to more nurses being off work due to issues such as illness and burnout, she said.

“If there are not enough nurses to be able to provide care, patient care can be delayed. Patients and family members can be frustrated. Patients may need pain medication or anti-anxiety medication in a timely fashion so they may then strike out because they’re in pain or distressed,” Sorensen said.

She said the government needs to address the issues and do more to ensure that nurses are safe.

“It’s just completely unacceptable that nurses continue to be assaulted.”

A previous assault on the Baker 2 ward occurred on Sept. 24, 2019 when a patient struck a nurse in the face with a dumbbell. The nurse’s injuries included a broken jaw, fractured cheek bone and damaged teeth.

The patient, Neale Heath, was charged and later sentenced to three months in jail after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.

The Fraser Health spokesman said that following that incident, ARH implemented new measures, including: better tools to identify and manage aggressive and potentially violent patients, increased security guard presence in the hospital, advanced violent prevention training for all unit staff, routine audits of appropriate care procedures and ongoing physical safety enhancements.

The spokesman said Fraser Health has also implemented tools such as the “coloured dot system” to identify behavioural issues in a patient’s chart and regular safety inspections to ensure areas are free of sharp objects and other potentially harmful items.

A nurse also suffered injuries in an assault in the ARH emergency department in 2015.

In that incident, a man was awaiting medical and mental-health treatment when he attacked a nurse, who suffered cuts that required stitches above and below his eye.

RELATED: Union calls for safety improvements after nurse attacked at Abbotsford hospital



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Fraser Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

web
Fire breaks out inside Mission Walmart

Customers, staff evacuated as firefighters investigate

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

Pacific Institution in Abbotsford. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Inmate sentenced for aggravated assault in Maple Ridge dies in Abbotsford

Correctional Service Canada says Brodie Bingley died April 13 at Pacific Institution

Ray Nielsen and his wife Teresa. Photo from GoFundMe page.
GoFundMe started for Mission family in financial distress following father’s illness

Ray Nielsen, a father of 3, suffering from liver failure and unable to work

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read