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A year after scathing report, New Brunswick mental health facility still addressing issues

Click to play video: 'Restigouche Hospital Centre: 1 year after scathing report'
Restigouche Hospital Centre: 1 year after scathing report
WATCH: A year after a scathing report alleging mistreatment and abuse of patients at Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton, Vitalite Health Network held an update to discuss what's been done. Callum Smith reports. – Feb 6, 2020

One year after a scathing reporting alleging mistreatment and abuse of patients at Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton, N.B., Vitalité Health Network held an update to discuss what’s been done.

In the report, provincial ombud Charles Murray found that the hospital is chronically understaffed and failing to provide adequate care.

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The report highlighted five patient cases, saying one died of an infection after staff didn’t monitor vital signs, while another patient was forced to the ground while being restrained, resulting in the bruising.

Just days after the report, Vitalité Health Network said a patient died, but didn’t offer details to the circumstances.

Vitalité president and CEO Gilles Langteigne said Thursday that those cases are “totally unacceptable.”

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“Many things have been done, and the first is that, for the past year, we have not had one of these situations that was reported,” said Langteigne.

Click to play video: 'Emotions run high as discussions around youth mental health in the Campbellton-area continue'
Emotions run high as discussions around youth mental health in the Campbellton-area continue

The $156-million facility opened in 2015, but eventually reduced its capacity from 140 beds to 100 to try to zero in and improve care.

Vitalité says 20 are for forensic assessments, with the other 80 being treatment beds. Eighty-one patients are currently at the mental health facility

Langteigne says steps have been taken to address patient mistreatment.

“All the training that has been done,” said Langteigne, “all the cultural, bringing in more expertise, providing projects to people that they could go to the community.”

Langteigne says there are still patients who have been at the facility for “a long time” that still need to be returned to communities.

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Murray agrees that progress has been made, but says there’s still work to do.

“I think [they] obviously at some points have demonstrated that there has been progress, that they’ve been active in the last year, and I think everyone agrees that has taken place,” Murray said.

“The real devil is in the details.”

Langetigne says improved staff morale, locums and a reduction of job vacancies from 92 to 62 within a year are successes. But he says finding doctors remains their biggest issue.

“Our biggest challenge, and we’ve mentioned that on numerous occasions, is recruitment,” he said. “Recruitment of nurses, recruitment of psychiatrists.”

To that, Lanteigne says just one psychiatrist has been signed.

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