Forensic psychiatric nursing: a literature review and thematic analysis of staff–patient interaction

Authors


F. A. Gildberg
Research Unit of Nursing
Institute of Clinical Research
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Southern Denmark
J.B. Winsløws Vej 9B 3. sal.
5000 Odense C
Denmark
E-mail: fgildberg@health.sdu.dk

Abstract

Accessible summary

  • Today, forensic mental health nursing is part of the current psychiatric treatment offered to inpatients in Denmark. However, only sparse research exists in this area.
  • • This paper examines what characterizes the interaction between mental health staff and inpatients in a forensic setting and what significance this interaction holds for the forensic inpatient.
  • • The literature review spans the period September 1997 to January 2009 in the following databases: CINAHL, CSB, PsycINFO, Scopus, Pubmed, MEDLINE and Sociological Abstracts. The articles were categorized using a literature matrix and analysed using content analysis.
  • • Two overriding themes are identified: parentalistic & behaviour-changing care and relational & personal quality-dependent care. The themes show how nursing care is reported from a relational perspective and from a custodial perspective. It demonstrates that it is not only custodial care that takes place but also care expressed as personal qualities in a relational aspect. However, only a few of the findings represent a clear account of how the interactional characteristics impact on the forensic inpatient. This is significant because it documents that no clear conclusion on the patient impact issue could be reached at this point and that further investigation needs to take place.

Abstract

In Denmark the increasing number of forensic mental health patients has led to prioritized services, including the area of nursing; however, this field is subject to sparse research. The aim of this study was to review existing research literature and in doing so investigate what characterizes forensic mental health staff interaction with forensic mental health inpatients and furthermore to investigate what significance these staff characteristics have for the inpatients. The literature review spans the period September 1997 to January 2009 and was based on a systematic keyword combination search in the following databases: CINAHL, CSB, PsycINFO, Scopus, Pubmed, MEDLINE and Sociological Abstracts. The articles were categorized using a literature matrix and analysed using content analysis. Seventeen quantitative and qualitative research studies were analysed. The results show that the interaction between forensic staff and forensic inpatients is characterized by two overriding themes: parentalistic & behaviour-changing care and relational & personal quality-dependent care. Only a few of the findings represent a clear account of how the interactional characteristics impact on the forensic inpatient. The conclusion is that no clear account of the patient impact issue can be reached at this point and that further investigation needs to take place.

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