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Patient characteristics and behaviours associated with self-harm and attempted suicide in acute psychiatric wards

Stewart, Duncan, Ross, Jamie, Watson, Charlotte, James, Karen and Bowers, Len (2012) Patient characteristics and behaviours associated with self-harm and attempted suicide in acute psychiatric wards. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21(7-8), pp. 1004-1013. ISSN (print) 0962-1067

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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The study examined events before and after incidents of self-harm and attempted suicide and the characteristics of patients who engage in these behaviours. BACKGROUND: Psychiatric inpatient populations have an elevated risk of self-harm and suicide, but relatively little is known about the circumstances of these events during an admission. DESIGN: Retrospective case note analysis. METHOD: Data were collected on conflict (aggression, rule breaking, etc.) and containment (coerced medication, restraint, etc.) during the first two weeks of admission for a sample of 522 acute psychiatric inpatients. RESULTS: One in 10 patients self-harmed, and 4% attempted suicide. Aggression, attempting to leave the ward without permission and medication refusal were frequent precursors to incidents. Pro re nata medication and de-escalation were the most frequent interventions to follow an incident. Self-harm and attempted suicides during the current admission were significantly associated with younger age and a history of self-harm. CONCLUSIONS: A minority of the sample were involved in these behaviours, but incidents occurred soon after admission and sometimes repeatedly during the course of a day. Assessment of risk should be completed as early as possible. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: At-risk patients should be monitored for signs of withdrawal from ward activity, wanting to leave the ward without permission or non-compliance with medication to enable early intervention.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental health nursing, risk management, self-harm, suicide
Research Area: Health services research
Nursing and midwifery
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences (until 2013)
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Karen James
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 10:13
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2016 10:13

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