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COVID-19, infection prevention and control within acute inpatient mental health facilities: a new challenge requiring a new approach

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Mental Health inpatient units have a primary purpose of treating mental health problems, managing disturbance and promoting social contact and support networks. These factors can conflict with optimal infection prevention and control (IPC) measures.
This commentary describes an IPC perspective of the challenges in managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that are specific to acute mental health settings. It points out the main areas for IPC and mental health practice development.
The need for a new paradigm in the relationship between IPC and mental health specialists is identified. Recent collaboration between mental health and IPC specialists in evaluating personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in restraint is outlined.
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Keywords: COVID-19; INFECTION CONTROL; MENTAL HEALTH; RESTRAINT

Document Type: Commentary

Publication date: September 1, 2020

This article was made available online on August 18, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "COVID-19, infection prevention and control within acute inpatient mental health facilities: a new challenge requiring a new approach".

More about this publication?
  • Published twice a year, the Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care is devoted to issues affecting the care and treatment of people with mental disorders who manifest severely disturbed functioning. The journal is international and multidisciplinary. It provides stimulating papers and articles of interest to those who work in or study psychiatric intensive care, low secure services, acute inpatient wards, challenging behaviour environments, emergency psychiatry, or intensive treatments settings in other parts of the wider mental health system. The Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care encourages informed debate and exchange of opinion. Its content includes editorials, original research, brief reports, reviews, conference reports, news and notices, but preference is given to original research of a high scientific quality.
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