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Hospital psychiatric wards now feel like prisons, some say

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Hospitals have been overhauling facilities and procedures in psychiatric wards nationwide in response to new guidelines for suicide prevention.

Some mental health advocates and officials say the changes have come at the expense of patient privacy and dignity, making mental health units feel more like correctional institutions.

Some rooms now have polystyrene foam doors, televisions are behind plastic glass, and artwork has been stripped from walls.

The new safety standards that took effect in July were imposed by The Joint Commission, a hospital accreditation agency that works with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The commission also accredits the vast majority of psychiatric hospitals in the country.

Associated Press

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