Suicidal patients’ experiences regarding their safety during psychiatric in-patient care: a systematic review of qualitative studies
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBerg, S.H., Rørtveit, K., Aase, K. (2017) Suicidal patients’ experiences regarding their safety during psychiatric in-patient care: a systematic review of qualitative studies. BMC Health Services Research, 17(73) 10.1186/s12913-017-2023-8
Background: In-patient suicide prevention is a high priority in many countries, but its practice remains poorly understood. Patients in a suicidal crisis who receive psychiatric care can provide valuable insight into understanding and improving patient safety. The aim of this paper was therefore to summarize the qualitative literature regarding suicidal patients’ in-patient care experiences. The following question guided the review: How can we describe suicidal patients’ experiences regarding safety during psychiatric in-patient care? Methods: Systematic searches were conducted in the MEDLINE, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, SOCINDEX and PsycINFO databases, identifying 20 qualitative studies on suicidal patients and their psychiatric in-patient care experiences. These studies were systematically reviewed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, synthesized via thematic analysis and subjected to quality appraisals. Results: Patients described safety as “feeling safe”, and three components, i.e., connection, protection and control, were vital to their experiences of safety. Fulfilling these needs was essential to patients recovering from suicidal crises, feeling safe during encounters with health care professionals and feeling safe from suicidal impulses. Unmet needs for connection, protection and control left patients feeling unsafe and increased their suicidal behaviour. Conclusion: Our review addresses the importance of adopting a wider perspective of patient safety than considering safety solely in technical and physical terms. Safety for the suicidal patient is highly dependent on patients’ perceptions of their psychological safety and the fulfilment of their needs. The three patient-identified factors mentioned above – connection, protection and control – should be considered an integral part of patient safety practices and should form the basis of future efforts to understand the safety of suicidal patients during psychiatric in-patient care.
JournalBMC Health Services Research
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