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Mental health intensive care: the nurses' experience and perceptions of a new unit

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This paper describes a qualitative research study which explored the practices and views of nurses working on a new Mental Health Intensive Care Unit. A review of the literature identified the main aspects of intensive care provision: (1) physical security, (2) characteristics of the patient group, (3) staff-patient ratios, (4) therapeutic environment and (5) multi-agency involvement. Twenty-one periods of participant observation helped form the questions for a semi structured in-depth tape recorded interview in which 11 out of a total of 16 trained nurses took part. The information is categorized and the discussion is informed by observation of practice. The nurses perceived the following as the main issues: that the physical environment is inadequate for security; that the patient group appears to have the common characteristic of being unwanted in other clinical settings; that the staff-patient ratio is inadequate and that their vision of the nature of a therapeutic environment is vague.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Teacher/Researcher Mental Health, University of Nottingham, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Melbourne House, 96 Osmaston Road, Derby DR1 2RD, England

Publication date: 1996-12-01

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