Under the Gaze of Staff: Special Observation as Surveillance
Article first published online: 16 FEB 2011
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Perspectives in Psychiatric Care
Volume 48, Issue 1, pages 2–9, January 2012
How to Cite
Stewart, D. and Bowers, L. (2012), Under the Gaze of Staff: Special Observation as Surveillance. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 48: 2–9. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6163.2010.00299.x
- Issue published online: 22 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 16 FEB 2011
- First Received July 19, 2010; Final Revision received October 3, 2010; Accepted for publication October 13, 2010.
PURPOSE: This study explores the relationship of special observation (SO) to a range of patient, staff, and ward variables.
DESIGN AND METHODS: End-of-shift reports were completed by nurses on 136 acute mental health wards in England during 2004 and 2005.
FINDINGS: Intermittent SO (patient checked at specified intervals) was used five times more frequently than constant SO (patient kept within sight or reach). Significant relationships were found between SO and measures of ward surveillance, door locking, and the ease of observing patients on the wards. Both types of SO were more common when higher numbers of staff without a nursing qualification were on duty.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Improved ward design, less reliance on unqualified staff, and greater use of surveillance measures may reduce the need for SO.