Harmful experiences during psychiatric admission.
Zalm, Y.C. van der
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Background: Admission on a closed acute psychiatric ward can cause burden to patients. This burden can be caused by coercive measures, but also by other harmful experiences during admission. Research into harmful experiences during psychiatric admission, and the burden they cause, is scarce. Aim: The aim of this study is to explore psychiatric patients’ burden, caused by harmful experiences during their admission on a closed acute ward. Method: This study is a cross-sectional observational study conducted within a larger study into the traumatic effects of coercive measures. Participants were voluntary or involuntary admitted psychiatric patients, who were exposed to seclusion, forced medication or restrictions on leaving the ward. The instruments used in this study are the Psychiatric Experiences Questionnaire and the Life events Checklist. Results: The findings of this study show that patients report high rates (an average of more than eight) of harmful experiences. Frequent mentioned experiences with the highest reported burden are “experiencing staff calling you names or bullying you in some other verbal way”, “being deprived of adequate food or nutrition”, “not having adequate privacy for bathing, dressing, or using the toilet” and “having medication used as a threat or punishment”. Conclusion: The most harmful experiences for patients on a closed acute ward are experiences related to the contact between patients and staff. Recommendations: Through knowledge about which experiences are harmful to patients, nurses can play an important role in preventing these experiences or in providing aftercare for experiences that cannot be eliminated. Future research is needed into the effects of harmful experiences on future treatment and the factors associated with perceived burden. Additionally, in policy and service development, as in developing nursing practice, patient experiences must play an important role.