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Safety and security policies on psychiatric acute admission wards: results from a London-wide survey

Bowers, L., Crowhurst, N., Alexander, J. , Callaghan, P., Eales, S., Guy, S., McCann, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-3548-4204 & Ryan, C. (2002). Safety and security policies on psychiatric acute admission wards: results from a London-wide survey. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 9(4), pp. 427-433. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2850.2002.00492.x

Abstract

Very little research evidence is available regarding current safety and security procedures on acute psychiatric wards. This includes controversial areas such as the temporary removal of personal property, the searching of patients and visitors, the use of alarms and modern technology, and locking of entrances to regulate those entering and leaving. This is also despite widening dismay over increasing violence within a variety of hospital settings, the comparatively high risk of physical assault faced by mental health professionals and an abundance of literature and training in regards to violence management and prevention. To gain an understanding of current safety and security measures, a London-wide survey of acute admission wards was undertaken revealing a wide variety of measures and policies in operation. Over 100 NHS and private wards were sent questionnaires; there was a response rate of 70%. Results show that a significant proportion of acute admission wards are now locked at all times and a small proportion of units have 24-hour security/reception staff on-site and a low level of modern technology usage such as CCTV and electronic access systems. There is wide variation in items banned, restrictions placed on inpatients, and the searching of patients and visitors. Two independently varying emphases of ward security policies were identifiable, the first aimed at preventing harm to patients using door security, banning of item and restrictions on inpatients. The other is aimed at reducing risks to staff via searching of patients, use of security guards and sophisticated alarm systems. There is some preliminary evidence that these security policies are differentially associated with levels of absconding and violent incidents. Further research to guide practice is urgently required.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bowers, L., Crowhurst, N., Alexander, J. , Callaghan, P., Eales, S., Guy, S., McCann, E. & Ryan, C. (2002). Safety and security policies on psychiatric acute admission wards: results from a London-wide survey. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 9(4), pp. 427-433, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2850.2002.00492.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Publisher Keywords: guards, locked door, restrictions, rules, security, wards
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Nursing
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