Allen Hospital inpatient mental health diversion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Allen Hospital inpatient mental health diversion

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by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) Allen Hospital's 21 inpatient mental health beds are closed while staff undergoes safety training.

"We've been working with the state on a way to do that and we decided the best way to do it was the entire staff and all the responders who come to assist on calls to do it all at once," said Allen Hospital Spokesman Jim Waterbury.

Waterbury said the diversion could last two weeks but possibly less. He said with patients gone, staff and others who respond to the mental health unit can devote all their attention and time to training.

"What we want to do is upgrade our staff skills particularly in relation to high risk situations, when a patient may be aggressive or violent. It isn't the norm, but it happens and it's happening more frequently with mental health around the state. We want to make sure we're prepared," said Waterbury.

Waterbury said the diversion is a planned, pro-active move to provide better patient care and help keep the patients and the hospital safe.

"The whole idea with safety training in a mental health unit is to prevent incidents rather than react to them. If we can head off problems it's better than dealing with it after," he said.

The outpatient mental health program continues normal operations.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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