Interventions following a high violence risk assessment score: a naturalistic study on a Finnish psychiatric admission ward

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BMC Health Services Research. 2017 Jan 11;17(1):26

Title: Interventions following a high violence risk assessment score: a naturalistic study on a Finnish psychiatric admission ward
Author: Kaunomäki, Jenni; Jokela, Markus; Kontio, Raija; Laiho, Tero; Sailas, Eila; Lindberg, Nina
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date: 2017-01-11
Abstract: Abstract Background Patient aggression and violence against staff members and other patients are common concerns in psychiatric units. Many structured clinical risk assessment tools have recently been developed. Despite their superiority to unaided clinical judgments, staff has shown ambivalent views towards them. A constant worry of staff is that the results of risk assessments would not be used. The aims of the present study were to investigate what were the interventions applied by the staff of a psychiatric admission ward after a high risk patient had been identified, how frequently these interventions were used and how effective they were. Methods The data were collected in a naturalistic setting during a 6-month period in a Finnish psychiatric admission ward with a total of 331 patients with a mean age of 42.9 years (SD 17.39) suffering mostly from mood, schizophrenia-related and substance use disorders. The total number of treatment days was 2399. The staff assessed the patients daily with the Dynamic Appraisal of Situational Aggression (DASA), which is a structured violence risk assessment considering the upcoming 24 h. The interventions in order to reduce the risk of violence following a high DASA total score (≥4) were collected from the patients’ medical files. Inductive content analysis was used. Results There were a total of 64 patients with 217 observations of high DASA total score. In 91.2% of cases, at least one intervention aiming to reduce the violence risk was used. Pro re nata (PRN)-medication, seclusion and focused discussions with a nurse were the most frequently used interventions. Non-coercive and non-pharmacological interventions like daily activities associated significantly with the decrease of perceived risk of violence. Conclusion In most cases, a high score in violence risk assessment led to interventions aiming to reduce the risk. Unfortunately, the most frequently used methods were psychopharmacological or coercive. It is hoped that the findings will encourage the staff to use their imagination when choosing violence risk reducing intervention techniques.
Subject: Aggression
The dynamic appraisal of situational aggression
Violence risk assessment

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