Western State Hospital (Washington)

Western State Hospital is a psychiatric hospital located at 9601 Steilacoom Boulevard SW in Lakewood, Washington. Administered by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), it is a large facility with 806 beds, and Washington's second-oldest state-owned enterprise (after the University of Washington).

Western State Hospital
Washington Department of Social and Health Services
Main hospital building, 1892
Geography
Location9601 Steilacoom Blvd. SW
Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington, United States
Coordinates47.178°N 122.565°W / 47.178; -122.565
Organization
Care systemCMS
Hospital typePsychiatric
Services
Emergency departmentNo
Beds806
History
Founded1871
Links
WebsiteOfficial Website at DSHS
ListsHospitals in Washington

One of two state-owned adult psychiatric hospitals, the other being Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake, the hospital currently treats patients using psychiatric medications, mental health counseling, group therapy, drug, psychiatric rehabilitation, and behavior modification therapies. The hospital is divided into 4 specific acute treatment areas: PTRC Central and South for the treatment of civil and voluntarily committed adult patients, PTRC East for the treatment of older and geriatric patients, both civil and voluntary, the Center for Forensic Services that provides court-ordered evaluations and treatment for patients with legal charges and/or convictions, and the Child Study and Treatment Center, which provides treatment for children under the age of 18 years.

History

The facility was established in Washington Territory as Fort Steilacoom Asylum in 1871,[1] predating statehood by almost 20 years, in former buildings of Fort Steilacoom, which was a U.S. Army post from 1849 to 1868. In 1875, the territorial government took control due to complaints about patient neglect, brutal abuse and poor living conditions. One of its better known patients was Frances Farmer.

The original buildings of the asylum were demolished in 1886 to make way for a larger structure. It was renamed Western Washington Hospital for the Insane and the main ward was completed in 1887. In each of the following decades numerous out-buildings were constructed. In 1915, it was renamed Western State Hospital and grew in various stages.[1]

Recent controversies

Following news reports concerning serious understaffing at the hospital and several involuntarily committed patients escaping, including a person accused of murder, on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Washington State governor Jay Inslee fired Western State Hospital's Chief Executive Officer at the time, Ron Adler.[2]

The escape follows years of other problems including workplace discrimination, sexual harassment lawsuits, and excessively long patient admission times.[3]

Notable patients

References

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