Door locking and exit security measures on acute psychiatric admission wards

Nijman, H., Bowers, L., Haglund, K., Muir-Cochrane, E., Simpson, A. & van der Merwe, M. (2011). Door locking and exit security measures on acute psychiatric admission wards. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 18(7), pp. 614-621. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01716.x

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Abstract

Background: Locking the exit doors of psychiatric wards is believed to reduce the risk of patients absconding.

Aims: To both investigate the prevalence of door locking and other exit security measures on UK admission wards, as well as studying whether door locking appears to be effective in keeping inpatients in.

Methods: A cross sectional survey on 136 acute psychiatric wards in the UK was conducted, in which a range of data on patients, staff, and conflict and containment events, including door locking and absconding was collected from shift-to-shift during a period of six months.

Results: About a third of the participating wards (30%) operated with their ward exit door permanently locked, whereas another third (34%) never locked the ward door. Univariate analyses suggested little association between exit security measures and absconding. A more robust multilevel statistical analysis, however, did indicate a reduction of about 30% of absconding rates when the ward door was locked the entire shift.

Conclusion: Although locking the ward door does seem to reduce absconding to a certain extent, it far from completely can prevent it. As it may be unrealistic to strive for a 100% absconding proof ward, alternative measures for door locking to prevent absconding are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: NIJMAN, H., BOWERS, L., HAGLUND, K., MUIR-COCHRANE, E., SIMPSON, A. and VAN DER MERWE, M. (2011), Door locking and exit security measures on acute psychiatric admission wards. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 18: 614–621. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01716.x, which has been published in final form at Http://DX.DOI.ORG/10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01716.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Absconding, aggression, coercion, locked wards
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Adult Nursing
School of Health Sciences > Department of Mental Health & Learning Disability
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/3323

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