Aims and objectives
The Forensic Early Warning Signs of Aggression Inventory (FESAI) was developed to assist nurses and patients in identifying early warning signs and constructing individual early detection plans (EDP) for the prevention of aggressive incidents. The aims of this research were as follows: First, to study the prevalence of early warning signs of aggression, measured with the FESAI, in a sample of forensic patients, and second, to explore whether there are any types of warning signs typical of diagnostic subgroups or offender subgroups.
Reconstructing patients' changes in behaviour prior to aggressive incidents may contribute to identify early warning signs specific to the individual patient. The EDP comprises an early intervention strategy suggested by the patient and approved by the nurses. Implementation of EDP may enhance efficient risk assessment and management.
An explorative design was used to review existing records and to monitor frequencies of early warning signs.
Early detection plans of 171 patients from two forensic hospital wards were examined. Frequency distributions were estimated by recording the early warning signs on the FESAI. Rank order correlation analyses were conducted to compare diagnostic subgroups and offender subgroups concerning types and frequencies of warning signs.
The FESAI categories with the highest frequency rank were the following: (1) anger, (2) social withdrawal, (3) superficial contact and (4) non-aggressive antisocial behaviour. There were no significant differences between subgroups of patients concerning the ranks of the four categories of early warning signs.
The results suggest that the FESAI covers very well the wide variety of occurred warning signs reported in the EDPs. No group profiles of warning signs were found to be specific to diagnosis or offence type.
Relevance to clinical practice
Applying the FESAI to develop individual EDPs appears to be a promising approach to enhance risk assessment and management.