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February 15, 2010

NC medical center studies law enforcement's handling of EDPs

A pilot program will determine how long a police officer is needed to guard a patient

Winston Salem-Journal

FORSYTH, N.C. — Determining the most effective way of handling a mentally ill patient in the emergency room has vexed law-enforcement, health-care and mental-health officials for years.

A pilot program at Forsyth Medical Center is showing promise for resolving one of the biggest obstacles - determining how long a law-enforcement officer is needed to guard a patient.

Expert Perspective

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to dealing with emotionally disturbed people:

1. Size can be deceiving. Remember that even if an emotionally disturbed person is small in stature, his or her level of strength can still be extraordinary—even superhuman.

2. Perceptions may differ considerably. Remember that your perception of an encounter may differ considerably from that of the disturbed subject you’re dealing with.

3. Pace the contact. When dealing with emotionally disturbed people a calm, calculated and controlled approach is generally best.

4. Patience can be priceless. This is obvious but crucial.

5. Maintain tactical vigilance, even in a hospital.

6. Get as much information as possible prior to the contact.

Read more: 6 reminders for contact with EDPs

Full story: NC medical center studies law enforcement's handling of EDPs

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