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Psychiatric intensive care units: A literature review

Bowers, L., Jeffery, D., Bilgin, H. , Jarrett, M., Simpson, A. & Jones, J. (2008). Psychiatric intensive care units: A literature review. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 54(1), pp. 56-68. doi: 10.1177/0020764007082482


Background: Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) have been part of most inpatient psychiatric services for some time, however information about their functioning and outcome has not previously been collated.

Aim: To conduct a systematic literature review to assess the current state of knowledge about such services.

Method: A search of electronic databases was undertaken, followed by obtaining additional references from items obtained.

Results: Over 50 papers in English containing some empirical data were identified. Most studies were retrospective. Typical PICU patients are: male; younger; single; unemployed; suffering from schizophrenia or mania; from a black Caribbean or African background; legally detained; with a forensic history. The most common reason for admission is for aggression management, and most patients stay a week or less. Evidence of the efficacy of PICU care is very poor.

Conclusions: Most research so far has been small scale, and more substantial work using better methodologies is clearly required.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2008
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
[thumbnail of PICU lit review paper IJSP revised.pdf]
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