WA state mental hospital may release 150 patients

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LAKEWOOD, Wash. (AP) -- Western State Hospital may release 150 elderly patients with dementia as it plans to eliminate 220 jobs to cut costs.

The News Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/rpKBnf ) many of the patients have histories of punching, kicking and scratching caregivers and it would be difficult to place them in nursing homes.

Hospital CEO Jess Jamieson said the patients proposed for discharge are ready for community settings if there were places equipped to deal with them.

A staff meeting was held Monday at the Lakewood hospital to brief employees on possible budget cuts.

About 100 Western State employees have been laid off in the past three years. As of Monday the hospital housed 528 patients.

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Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com