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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

A Thorn in the Flesh? Forensic Inpatients in General Psychiatry

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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PURPOSE: To illuminate whether and how taking care of forensic inpatients is experienced as a burden among staff and managers in general psychiatry.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Qualitative analytical strategies based on interviews and questionnaires.

FINDINGS: The interplay between physical environment, bottlenecks, poor information exchange, lack of knowledge and competences, complex psychopathology, and a vague and therefore uncomfortable task of nursing leads to a focus on criminal offenses rather than mental disorders and an increased risk of brutalization and stigmatization in nursing practices. Members of staff identify the care of mentally disordered offenders in general psychiatric units as either "a parking space" or a very difficult or frightening course, where staff members tend to behave like pleasers in order to avoid risks of conflict or physical violence. Either way, it seems hard to provide sufficient mental health care.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Nationwide training and teaching as well as knowledge exchange between specialized forensic psychiatry and general psychiatry are recommended. Further exploration is needed on patient perspectives and on avenues to increase efficiency and decrease bottlenecks throughout the clinical pathways. Furthermore, we need additional knowledge of the impact on general patient populations' resources for treatment and their safety.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives in Psychiatric Care
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)32-39
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

ID: 44963704