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Arbour psychiatric hospitals cited for staff failures in three deaths

Derek Nally’s sisters Cathy Brennan, Susan Giugno, and Cheryl Wolfe want answers in his death. Arbour staff waited to try to revive him, officials say.
Derek Nally’s sisters Cathy Brennan, Susan Giugno, and Cheryl Wolfe want answers in his death. Arbour staff waited to try to revive him, officials say.Credit: Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

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State and federal inspectors identified staff failures in three questionable deaths within 18 months at hospitals in the Arbour Health System. The health care company, which operates seven inpatient psychiatric facilities and a chain of mental health clinics in Massachusetts, has been repeatedly cited for violating patient-care standards before and since the three deaths, including for staffing too few nurses or relying too much on lesser-trained or temporary workers.

Advocates for the mentally ill say Arbour’s track record raises questions about the standard of care and management of a hospital system that operates more than one in five licensed psychiatric beds in Massachusetts and serves a large number of low-income patients.

The company said in response to the citations, it has conducted training, changed policies, and improved patient monitoring.

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