Health care/social assistance

10 interventions can improve staff, patient safety in psychiatric wards: study


Photo: Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

London – Certain interventions can improve the safety of both workers and patients in psychiatric wards, according to a research team from King’s College London.

The researchers examined workers and patients at 31 wards at 15 hospitals, all randomly selected. Using the Safewards Model, a project of the King’s College Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, 10 interventions intended to improve worker skills and their relationships with patients were implemented:

  • Publish and agree on standards for worker and patient behavior.
  • Display advisories that explain how to handle incidents.
  • Use a “de-escalation model” to educate other workers.
  • Have workers compliment each patient between shifts.
  • Anticipate negative news a patient could receive and intervene to talk about it.
  • Create a “know each other” folder containing a patient’s personal information.
  • Conduct regular patient meetings to improve support.
  • Provide tools for stressed patients.
  • Reassure patients after incidents.
  • Display positive messages about the ward from former patients.

“Aggression, self-harm and other risky behaviors” are decreased by 15 percent and “coercive control, such as restraint,” is lowered by 24 percent using the Safewards Model, according to a press release.

The study was published in the September issue of the International Journal of Nursing Studies.