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ABSTRACT

Violence among Psychiatric Inpatients: A Victim’s Perspective

Objective: Violence in psychiatric wards results in serious consequences and there is need for research to assess it in various settings to enable improvements in safety within psychiatric facilities. This study aimed to assess the inpatient violence from victims’ perspective, in settings where family members accompanied patients during inpatient stay and played a significant role in caregiving.

Methods: A total of 100 consecutive incidents of inpatient violence were examined. Family members present at the time of the incident were interviewed to assess putative causes and behaviour prior to the incident.

Results: Bipolar spectrum disorder was the most common diagnosis. Family members were the targets of violence in 70% of the incidents and 81% were provoked episodes. Also, 76% of the patients were identified by family member to be irritable just prior to the episode. As preventive measures, family members suggested a need for more staff, more sedation, and improved communication.

Conclusions: The capability of family members to identify behaviour patterns of patients prior to the episode might help decrease the severity and consequence of violence. It is essential to provide culture specific interventions to the family, which could enable them in handling violence and give better care for the patient.

Key words: Family; Inpatients; Violence

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