Qualitative study on the placement of Huntington disease patients in a psychiatric hospital: Perceptions of Maltese nurses

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Abstract

Individuals with adult or juvenile Huntington disease can be cared for within psychiatric hospitals. In this paper, nurses' perceptions about the appropriateness of a psychiatric setting for these patients were explored. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 Maltese nurses involved in the care of these individuals. Their responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. Three main themes were identified from this study: (i) Huntington disease is not a mental illness; (ii) the lack of specialized staff and equipment within a psychiatric setting; and (iii) a need for alternative care options. The findings provide an insight into the perceptions of nurses, as they play a key role in the care and management of individuals with Huntington disease in a psychiatric setting. The findings demonstrated the need to provide alternative residential options in the community, and to improve the care and support provided both within psychiatric hospitals and the community through staff education and the provision of necessary facilities and equipment.

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